Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prophetic Witnesses Needed

1. So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD'S bidding. There really is a lot more to what happened than that simple sentence. When God called Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah did not want to go. Ninevah was a foreign city. They were not his people and Jonah did not like them. He did not want to warn them of the impending disaster resulting from their sins. So he ran away and got on a boat to go as far away as he could. It was then that the Lord caused the great sea storm and Jonah was thrown overboard where he spent time in the belly of the giant fish, who then deposited Jonah close to the city of Ninevah. Only then did Jonah make ready to do God’s will and preach to the city.
2. Jonah did not even ask them to repent, he simply announced forty days more and Ninevah shall be destroyed. One can imagine that people questioned him about where he got that information. But in any event, the people of Ninevah when confronted with their impending doom, repented of their sins in the hope that God would have mercy upon them. And God did have mercy upon them and did not destroy them.
3. What is strange is that God’s mercy angered Jonah. Jonah wanted to see the destruction of the Ninevites. He even told God that was the reason all along that he, Jonah, did not want to preach, because he knew that God would end up being merciful if the Ninevites repented.
4. Of all the prophets in the Old Testament, there were none so successful as Jonah. In the history of Christianity, however, there have been many examples of successful preaching. Saint Juan Diego was instrumental in the conversion of around a million native peoples of Mexico. Saint Francis Xavier baptized thousands and thousands, and even preached in tongues. We have the same baptismal call to be prophetic as they did. We may not believe that we have very much to say or do that would be effective. We might even be like Jonah and not want to preach. But it does not matter: we have the call anyway.
5. For most of us, we are not called to foreign lands but to speak out right here and now in this place. Nevertheless our response to the call of God is no less important. If Jonah had not been a sign to the Ninevites, they might have all died in their sins. And if we are not prophetic too, others may die in their sins.
6. In these days, there are many causes for which we could stand up for: stewardship of the environment, economic responsibility and fairness, improvement of the schools among others. There is one issue, however, that we are being called to stand up for that is basic to all these other issues. That is the issue of life. It is very true that many people become uncomfortable when this area is spoken about in church. I mean, if I were to say that God has created each and every human being in His image and likeness and that God loves each person no matter how weak, vulnerable, or apparently unvaluable, everyone would be okay with that. But if I start to say that we must stop the brutal killing of the innocent in the sin of abortion, then the discomfort begins. But being uncomfortable is exactly how we should be. In fact, we should be angry- the innocent are being killed. Who will be next? The elderly? You? Me? Our discomfort, our anger should lead us to confront this grave sin and oppose with all our might.
7. Our response is not something which we should put off. Just yesterday, it was reported that on Friday President Obama, in keeping with his campaign promises, decided to permit Federal funds to be used to promote abortions in other countries. I heard that the FDA was going to permit embryonic stem cell research which would be using human beings for medical experimentation and in its course, destroying them.
7. Anyway, since 1989, there have been people who have been trying to pass the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA. This proposed Act of Congress would be very harmful to our country. Contrary to its name, it would remove many freedoms which we now enjoy. For example: a doctor or nurse or hospital could not conscientiously refuse to do an abortion. That means if your son or daughter became a OBGYN, they would be required to perform abortions even if they were opposed on moral or medical grounds. Under FOCA, our tax dollars would be used to fund abortions even if we were opposed. The FOCA would eliminate parental rights with regard to their children having an abortion, including the right to know what happens. Finally, all limits to partial birth abortions would be removed.
8. FOCA itself may become law, or the harmful policies it represents may become law one step at a time. In either case, we must oppose FOCA and all it stands for. Today we have an opportunity to sign and send postcards to our U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators. The message on the cards urges our federal elected officials to oppose FOCA and to retain existing laws against government funding and promotion of abortion. If each of us takes just a few moments to sign the postcards, together we can send an important message to our nation’s Capitol to uphold the sanctity of human life. A man told me this morning that he regularly contacts the representatives. They will personally read the card if there is a handwritten message. So if you can, add a short personal message to increase its effectiveness.
9. Probably, most of the people of our country would not even consider an abortion. And many people feel that it is merely a private matter which should never be discussed in public, especially in church. But what will happen to us if we say nothing? Will we be better Christians? Will our silence make for an improved, hopeful America? When we meet the fifty million children who lives were lost since 1973, will we be able to look them in eye without regret?
10. It may seem as if what we do is not significant, but with God’s help our witness can make a difference not only for the unborn, but for our whole society. God needed Jonah's prophetic preaching in order to save the people of Ninevah. The Lord needs us to act for the good of our country. I believe it was Francis Bacon who said “evil continues when good people say nothing"
12. Don’t be afraid. When I was a teacher in another state, their education association heavily supported planned parenthood, so I refused to join. We received a pay raise and one of the other teachers said that I should not get it, since I refused to pay dues. So I said take it back, I will not accept $3000 if it means the killing of the innocent, so they backed down. Thank you and may God bless you.

3 comments:

Clinton said...

Father, I found your blog from a link at WDTPRS, Fr,
Z.'s blog. Excellent sermon! Your parishoners have
a fine shepherd in you.

Anonymous said...

Father,

Thanks for speaking out about FOCA. It seems that no one around here in Oklahoma knows about it or that Obama may have plans to sign it.

It would put Catholic hospitals out of business in a hurry.

Suzanne Tate

Anonymous said...

As always, an enlightening and inspirational sermon. Our Lord has truly blessed us by sending you. I am writing an argumentative paper for English and am focusing on the Government Compeling Conscience. FOCA is a main topic for me. We must continue to get the word out for so many that still do not understand. Thank you.