In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus’ sermon on the plains disrupts the crowd: “Blessed are the poor, the hungry, those weeping, and those who are hated on account of the Son or Man. ... But woe to the rich, those who are filled now, those who laugh now, when all speak well of you.” The first reading from Jeremiah sets the sharp contrast: “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings ... He is like a barren bush in the desert. Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD ... He is like a tree planted beside the waters ... [and] bears fruit.”
They voted, they cheered, and then lit the One World Trade Center in New York City in pink to celebrate the most aggressive abortion rights legislation on the books. This is “choice” in America. With one in every three pregnancies ending in abortion, and touting abortion until birth, New York is choosing, literally, to be “a barren bush ... a lava waste ....” We weep as they cheer.
As a way of showing the administration’s “zero tolerance” approach to illegal immigration, parents and children were separated at the border. Some cheered even as children were ripped from their parents’ arms. Though the president eventually signed an executive order ending these separations, some family members remain separated while the debate on immigration rages on. Without comprehensive immigration reform, the border areas remain a dry “barren bush in the desert ... a lava waste ....” We weep as they argue.
The choice is always ours: Do we weep or do we laugh? Do we choose fruitfulness or barrenness? Do we choose a blessing or a curse? Christianity demands that we uphold the sanctity and dignity of human life. As disciples, we are called to work against a culture of death, greed, and racism to bring about the fruit of a more just society. Throughout history, Christians have wept, worked, and prayed while others laughed.
This can be hard, especially for those who like to be liked. Yet Jesus does not soft sell Christian discipleship: “Woe to you when all speak well of you.” I have a friend who I tease as “the most hated person on Facebook.” He takes each stance according to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching; he weeps for the unborn, the poor, families separated at the border, those discriminated in the criminal justice system ... you name it. The beatitudes are not political; they are about following Jesus. Blessed are those who weep.
As parents/grandparents, we plant seeds for fruitfulness in our children by teaching them to place their trust in God, not in human beings. We form our children to make all decisions through the eternal, for their “reward will be great in heaven.” We name grace—God’s life-affirming presence—when standing for the bullied or working for the underprivileged. We teach our children to weep over—and work against—any assault on human dignity or human life.
Traditionally, pink represents the joyous birth of a baby girl, the heroic fight against breast cancer, and the anticipation of our Lord on Gaudete Sunday. Sadly, New York's abortion law has desecrated the color pink, as it now represents the death of the innocents and the degradation of women. Yet through Jesus’ resurrection, we also know death and destruction will not have the final word and someday we “will laugh.” Until then. We love. We weep. We work. We pray. We trust. Now, that’s good news!
When have you wept over an injustice?
How will you form your children in Catholic Social Teaching?
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To read more about God's grace in everyday life or to connect with me, please contact me: www.marypedersen.com.
For Catholic Social Teaching: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/index.cfm
Check out the Bishops’ statements on all the challenging issues of our time: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/index.cfm.
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.