Friday, October 10, 2014

“To show resentment at a reproach is to acknowledge that one may have deserved it.”

“There has been no single influence which has done more to prevent man from finding God and rebuilding his character, has done more to lower the moral tone of society than the denial of personal guilt. This repudiation of man’s personal responsibility for his action is falsely justified in two ways: by assuming that man is only an animal and by giving a sense of guilt the tag “morbid.” - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Gospel Text: (LK 11:15-26)
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

Why are bad things only bad if someone else does them, but we excuse ourselves from culpability?

The challenge of Jesus is to make moral reflection part of every decision we make, large and small, global and individual. We need to become conscious of the times we engage in actions we would deem "evil," "wrong" or "immoral" if they were done to us. Whenever that is the case in our personal lives, we have to be sure it is necessary, intellectually honest and humble enough to admit that we are doing it, and adamant about stopping it as soon as we reasonably can. Then on the global stage, we need to hold our elected officials accountable to do the same.

Moral and ethical dilemmas abound. Too often, careful and deep thinking, especially concerning our own behaviors, do not. To help live the kingdom on earth, we must find ways to better model our lives on Jesus, who unflinchingly called both his disciples and the leaders of his day to justice, integrity, and higher moral judgment.

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