I think that many people say to themselves:
“I’ll lead a good life….I’ll be kind, caring, generous, compassionate.
I’ll look out for my neighbors. I’ll help those in need. And I’ll try to be a loving person.
And in the end, I’ll trust in the mercy of God, the kindness of God,
the generosity of God, to forgive my faults, to cleanse me from my sins,
and receive me with joy into the glory of heaven.”
And it is true that God sees what we cannot see; God knows what we do not know.
But a good life is not always a Christian life.
A good life can be humanitarian, moral, benevolent, altruistic, philanthropic, virtuous.
I have to believe that a good life is inspired by God.
Regarding anything good, God has thought of it, and desired it,
long before it comes into human awareness.
I also have to believe that God rewards a good life.
A good life is pleasing to God. A good life, even anonymously, gives glory to God.
The question ultimately becomes “what is good? Who, how, what determines what is good?
Human reason and intellect can discover what is good.
It is part of God’s creation. And it can be comprehended by the human mind.
To live a Christian life is to accept that God has shown Himself, made Himself known
in a way that can be perceived by human beings.
God reveals Himself as God. So when Moses was on Mt. Sinai,
he was communing with God, not with nature.
The greatest revelation of God is Jesus Christ.
To live a Christian life is to accept that Jesus Christ, through his works, his words, his example,
his very presence, reveals what is of God.
Hence, for the Christian, it is revelation, and not mere human wisdom, that determines what is good.
The good life for a Christian is obedience and faithfulness to the commands of God
as these are revealed in human history. (The 10 commandments are still valid.)
In today’s gospel Jesus reveals: it is not good to commit adultery.
Those who are faithful to God do not commit adultery.
And those who remarry after divorce,
(and it is implied that sexual relations occur in this 2nd marriage)
those who remarry after divorce commit adultery.
Adultery is not part of a good life….at least according to Jesus with regards to God’s plan.
We cannot discount these words of Jesus. We cannot summarily dismiss them, ignore them,
because they make us uncomfortable, make us feel guilty,
because they confront a common current reality in our world and in our church.
And we can’t expect the church to close its eyes to the sin of its members.
What kind of shepherd would turn away when the wolf attacks the sheep?
It is been the practice of the Catholic Church to allow divorced and remarried Catholics
to go to communion after three conditions are met:
1. the parties commit to living in a chaste relationship with no sexual activity.
2. the parties consult with, council with a priest to insure all pertinent matters are considered.
And 3. the parties go to communion at a Catholic Church where their living situation will not cause scandal, will not cause doubt and concern and demoralize those who are struggling to remain faithful to God’s ways.
And just as a point of clarity, someone who is separated from a 2nd spouse is free to receive communion after seeking reconciliation with the community through the Sacrament of Penance.
If you are divorced and remarried, whether Catholic or non-Catholic Christian…
lead a good life; pursue a good life; teach your children to lead a good life.
Recognize the truth of what Jesus teaches. It isn’t arbitrary or trivial.
But also recognize the reality of human sinfulness. In other words, remain humble.
And just because of your circumstance, do not disparage the goodness of sexual morality.
And when your circumstance changes, because of illness or old age or some unforeseen event,
reconcile with the community and come back to the sacraments.
In the end, especially when death is imminent, the Church instructs its priests
to do everything possible to see to it that its members receive communion one last time
and receive a proper Catholic burial.
Today’s prayer: “O Lord, you teach us Your commands. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, You restore what sin has tainted: Your original plan for humanity. Give us the strength to renounce worldly ways. And when we fail to do this, give us the grace to live in Your goodness and truth as best we can. Amen!”
7th Week in Ordinary Time
I think that many people say to themselves: