Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Today’s Gospel says that when Jesus heard the news about John, He withdrew to a deserted place to be by Himself[1]. Jesus often went off someplace where He could pray. What must His prayers have been after hearing about John’s death? Perhaps He was trying to understand the will of the Father for John and for Him. Perhaps He was contemplating the meaning of death. Perhaps, Jesus was considering the mystery of evil. John, the greatest prophet to live, had been put to death by pure evil. Evil would attack Jesus also, as well as the people He was gathering to Himself.  Certainly Jesus was grieving over the death of His kinsman, the one who had pointed at Him and called Him the Lamb of God[2].

Jesus would not be left alone for long, though. People sought Him out.  He could not allow His grief to keep Him from caring for the people.  He needed to feed them, in word and in deed. Like John the Baptist, Jesus would also be put to death by evil, but He would not allow Himself to be caught up in evil, caught up in the culture of death.  Jesus came to bring life into the world. He came to invite people, invite us, to join Him in the Culture of Life.

The Culture of Life is the way of living that celebrates the life we were given at our baptism, the life of God. The Culture of Life chooses the way of the Lord over all other possibilities. It considers how each decision best reflects the Presence of the Lord. We are called to the Culture of Life. We are people of life, people of hope, People of God. It is our commitment to the culture of life that allows us to view the events of our physical lives as only part of the story of our lives. We live for God.  We live for heaven. We live for eternal life. And we refused to be destroyed by the culture of death.

The culture of death only sees the here and now. It does not consider the impact of a person’s actions on his or her life or on the world in general.  It is the culture of death that says, “Have the abortion.” How many babies are killed? How many great minds were never allowed to develop? How much beauty has the world lost? How much love? And how many girls have their lives destroyed? It is the culture of death that says, “Party on.” It is the culture of death that is so pessimistic that it takes it for granted that people have no choice but to be condemned to a life that is ultimately meaningless. It is the culture of death that speaks to the young about birth control as soon as they announce that they have a girlfriend or boyfriend. The culture of death presumes that the young will not be able to control themselves. It is the culture of death that says that retirees should live together rather than marry because finances are more important than eternal life. Think about it! It is the culture of death that is the philosophical basis of the sex industry. Basically speaking, the culture of death assumes that we are animals, unable to control ourselves.

But we are not animals. We are sons and daughter of God. We have dignity. We also have a right to demand that others treat us with the Dignity we have been given at our baptism.  Whether we are thirteen or Ninety-three, we cannot allow anyone to assume that we are unable to control ourselves, assume that are condemned to live like animals, condemned to the Culture of Death.

And God says in our first reading:

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.[3]

We have been called to Life. It is all right there for us. We can choose Christ. We can choose His Way, the Culture of Life. And we can be happy, now and forever. But we must choose ■



[1] 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time A, August 3, 2014. Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3; Responsorial Psalm 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21.
[2] Jon 1: 29.
[3] Isaiah 55. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris