Stormy Weather

06-26-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I realize the future usually gets a bad rap since none of us will actually live through it all. But if we "read the writing on the wall", to use a nice biblical phrase (via the Prophet Daniel), the walls are collapsing in the present. The immediate future is looking very stormy. When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan, he pointed out the absurdity of that position, saying, "a house divided against itself can not stand".

Case in point the explanations given for the Orlando massacre have an Alice-in-Wonderland sort of perspective. First the NY Times claimed, "…while we don't know for certain the motives of the shooter". Really? The shooter called 911 and a TV Station, saying he was the shooter, pledged his allegiance to ISIS, was doing this for Allah and wanted the US to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. But why take him at his word when your editors have clairvoyant powers. The Times and many others divined the real motives of the shooter: homophobic violence inspired by Christian opposition to the redefinition of marriage. It was really the ghost of the late Justice Scalia possessing the shooter.

But did the shooter sit in the pews of a Christian Church and listen to pro-traditional marriage sermons. Did he read orthodox Christian publications? Did he listen to Christian podcasts or follow Christian websites, attend a Bible Study? Because if he did he would not have heard calls for violence or hatred against gays and lesbians. A year ago the Supremes sang and our side lost. Afterwards who made the call to massacre gays and lesbians? Was it the Pope, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Franklin Graham, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Missouri Synod Lutherans? No, there were not calls for violence or any thing of the sort. Yes, there were lawsuits and democratic opposition to the ruling but never, never did we hear Christian leaders call for Christians to bring the world under submission to Jesus Christ by force. Unless the shooter was a part of the 40 or so member anti-gay, anti-Catholic, anti-most everybody else Westboro Baptist Church I doubt Christianity had anything to do with his motives.

The Times even published an article whose author claims that St. Paul, in the letter to the Romans calls for the death of homosexuals and that this is what some Republicans in Congress prayed for. Here's the quote: "A Republican congressman read his colleagues a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays." Seriously? That's the kind of sloppy reporting on religion that makes my head spin like Linda Blair's in the Exorcist. Yet the same publication in the run up to the legalization of same-sex marriage assured us that the New Testament says nothing about same-sex marriage or behavior, Jesus is just cool with it. Apparently their Bible teacher is schizophrenic. For the record St. Paul states clearly in the Letter to the Romans that "all have sinned and all are deprived of the glory of God and deserving of death". That includes me, you and everybody else, not just homosexuals. The good news of the Gospel is that we are all made righteous in God's sight through faith in Jesus Christ.

You might be thinking this is just political correctness taken to the extreme. Or maybe it is just militant pro same-sex promotion or just a fear of taking on a violent strain of Islam. It is all that but much more. It is a complete break with reality and when that happens people who break with reality act on perception not reality or facts and their perception is that Christians, gun owners, Republicans and a few others are the enemy. That can not end well.

The solution is good leadership that can bring us together and heal the divide. But none is forthcoming. That is why the time is over for us to trust in political solutions to our problems. It will have to come from God. And the very people who are being vilified will be the very people who help rebuild our world after the house divided collapses.

I recently watched one of those end of the world type movies where just about everyone becomes a vampire or zombie except for the lead character who invents the serum that can vaccinate the few remaining humans thus saving the day. Christians will be the ones with the serum, the antidote, the anti-venom when the time comes. That serum we call Hope. It is the greatest thing we can give to others. For as St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:24: we are saved in Hope. And so it will be.

Love, Fr. John B.