How Isaiah begins his writings, as proclaimed in today’s first reading:
Hear the word of the LORD,Is 1:10, 15b-17a
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim…
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, quoting St. Bernard, that the Bible is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living” (108).
The Letter to the Hebrews says, “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow…” (4:12).
Yes, the Word is alive. Isaiah’s admonition certainly applied to the Chosen People of his day who had gone astray and were under grave threat from Assyrian aggression.
Just so, the prophet’s message applies to the world today — in spades. We have the benefit of the coming of the Messiah, yet the sins of the world multiply such that even the most decadent citizens of the two infamous cities of the Old Testament mentioned above would blush.
Consider what Jesus had to say about those places that rejected His message:
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.Mt 10:15
First, we must pray for conversion of hearts, starting with our own. And then pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit who, we are promised, will not abandon us in times of trouble:
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.
For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.Lk 12:11-12
As the song says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” What (who!) is love? God. And God is truth. And God is life. These are inseparable. And pastoral. A culture of hate, relativism, and death, needs the Lord as much as ever. May we never shy away from being the instruments, the messengers (apostoloi), that our Christian baptism calls us to be. In this challenging calling, we can be heartened to know Christ is with us, leading the way by word and example (from today’s Gospel):
[W]hoever does not take up his crossMt 10:38-39
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
NO APOLOGIES FOR MARY
But apologetics, for sure. This conversation between Matt Fradd and Tim Staples regarding the four Marian dogmas was providentially recommended by YouTube. I thought I knew a good bit about biblical defenses for the Marian dogmas, but Mr. Staples had me exclaiming “Wow! I never heard that before!” multiple times. I urge you to check out the video. Absolutely rock solid and worthy of hearing, studying, and passing along to friends, doubters or not. It also inspired me to order his book.
By the way, Matt Fradd and Trent Horn should be subscribed to by every Catholic who enjoys podcasts and YouTube and wants to grow in faith and knowledge. These men are doing yeoman’s work in the fields of our Lord.
Bishop Barron once again knocks it out of the park with an angle on the Good Samaritan story I’ll bet you never heard. He is a master at opening new horizons on familiar Bible passages. Word on Fire, his ministry, is another one to subscribe to.
Also, his books of sermons are worthy reading, including his latest, already in my library, and available cheap.