9.18.22 25th S. Homily: Legislate Morality

Today’s homily is for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 18, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of the homily is here.

St. Paul’s wish to Timothy is that, “in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.” He asks for supplications and prayers for everyone, kings and those in authority–so that they may lead a quiet and tranquil life.” And that is a very good thing to be sure. The early Christians counted for nothing, were needlessly slaughtered, and all they wanted to do is live their life in peace with God. That’s not too much to ask, right? I think most of us can get behind a cause that just lets people live their life. Mostly nowadays we say, “Look, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, do what you want!” I can get behind that. We live in a country, and in a state, that is incredibly diverse–lots of different people, experiences, and views–and the truth is, “Hey, whatever floats your boat.” But are there limits? 

What do we do when what floats someone’s boat actually harms others? How do we feel when we hear about drunk drivers who kill a family on their way home? When robbers shoot and kill, or some rapes another, or when a child is beaten by a parent? We cry out “injustice!” and want something done! We’re upset! In times like that it’s kinda hard to live without anger or argument–because something must be done! This is not okay. Good people say, “No sir! Not if I have any say about it!” We want laws passed to prosecute and stop those who place no value in other people’s lives–and they may not see the value in the life they’re harming, but we do, and we pass laws to protect vulnerable life at all times and in all places–the elderly, the average Joe, the innocent. 

I do not understand a statement like, “I would never get an abortion, but it’s not right for me to tell someone else what to do.” That’s like saying, “I would never rob and kill someone, but if someone else wants to that’s okay by me.” Or “I would never drink and drive, but if someone else wants to, who am I to say it’s wrong for them?” It sounds ridiculous? But people say it all the time when it comes to abortion. And how about this, “I believe abortion is morally wrong, but I can’t impose my moral views on others.” Yes, you can! California has hundreds of thousands of laws that tell other people what to do! Stop at red lights, drive on the right side of the road, don’t abuse your spouse, don’t steal, don’t drink and drive, don’t park in a handicap spot, don’t speed in a school zone. We say children’s lives are valuable, don’t speed in a school zone, but we can’t say children’s lives are valuable don’t kill the one inside of you? Every law on the books imposes someone’s moral view!

In the name of freedom of choice, we are allowing people to kill other people–at various stages of development. Infanticide was legal in the Roman Empire. Up to a year old a mother had the right to simply put her infant outside and let it die–it was called, “exposure.” The baby died from exposure–no, the baby died because you put it outside, because you failed to protect it, and especially because the law allowed for it. It was barbaric and legal until Christianity became the religion of the empire, and put a stop to it in the fourth century, under Constantine and Valentinian I. Holy men and women prayed, lifted up Holy hands, and out of righteous anger, produced good arguments to change the law.

And so can we. Good people need to again rise up in our state and put a stop to the barbaric act of killing innocent life. We need to say, “Not on our watch.” We are good people, and we have the right to vote our good conscience. We have the right to legislate our morality…that’s what voting is! And if we do not pass laws to protect life, then people will pass laws to violate it. Laws will be passed, make no mistake, the question is only whose morality will they reflect. 

From the prophet Amos, “Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! The LORD has sworn: Never will I forget a thing they have done!” Now is the time. Vote NO on proposition 1.

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