There is no partiality with God.

Romans 2, 1-12 + Luke 11, 42-46

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Today's first reading ends with "there is no partiality with God." He loves everybody, Jews and Greeks, men and woman, those who are slaves and those who are free. His mercy and kindness are "priceless," and we are called to return good works as a response to God's offer of Himself in love. Wrath comes on those who "selfishly disobey" the truth, but those who "persevere in good works" will be blessed. As last Sunday's Gospel noted, it's not enough to just show up. Paul's words hark back to those of Moses and his last sermon to the people of Israel -- and the emphasis is clearly on "doing the Word," not just hearing it.

Luke's Gospel continues this theme via Jesus' oration at the Pharisee's supper, strong words, demanding a faith that is true and is not hypocrisy. These are words that we need to hear today, an era in which Text is worshiped and revered, and people seem to think that if the appropriate politically correct language can be used (and non-politically correct language avoided), then life itself will become appropriately just. But for today's readings, actions speak much louder than words.

Thus it is not enough for us say "Justice, Mercy, Peace," we must model them in our lives. If we speak of Goodness and Beauty but live in Violence and Arrogance we are hypocrites and stand condemned before God and our fellow human beings.

The United States government could do with a dose or two of these readings, for surely we live in a nation where our leaders speak of peace and practice war, they honor justice with their lips even as they participate in the latest oppression. War indeed has become peace, slavery is now freedom, dead babies are collateral damage, and as long as the stock market continues to climb, that's pretty much fine with most people, and it is certainly fine with our ruling political and economic elites who are getting richer even as the poor are getting poorer.

Everything for which the prophets condemned ancient Israel, we do. Everything for which Jesus condemned the leaders of His community, we do. And we've added to the litany of horrors. As the book of Proverbs says, "Pride goes before a fall," and "let those who think that they stand take heed, lest they fall."

There is in fact no partiality with God. The LORD of the Universe is not impressed by a militaristic empire controlling half of the continent of North America, whose rulers fatten their bank accounts from the rice bowls of the poorest of the poor worldwide, a place where parents buy their children toys made by exploited children in other lands, who often work 14 hours a day six days a week. God does not establish a covenant to enable the rich to oppress the poor. He does not desire that people murder innocent babies. Our United Statesian trust in our "Special Relationship" with God is a mass delusion fostered and encouraged by Satan to cause death, misery, and tragedy throughout the world. The names of the demons on which this satanic crusade rides are Arrogance, Violence, Exploitation, and Oppression, the four horsemen of the coming Apocalypse. Our sense of "American Exceptionalism" is blasphemy at its worst.

We are not the first empire to be sent to the Ash Heap of History because of our devotion to our sense of our own importance and glory. We won't be the last. But we shouldn't doubt that that is where we are heading.

It took hundreds of years for the Roman empire to develop, decay, and fall, but that was then, this is now, and the velocity of such events today is much greater. Living standards dropped precipitously after the Fall of Rome because many people did not understand the technology that made their cities possible, thus, cities shrank in size, literacy declined, libraries were destroyed, but most people survived, they weren't that far from their agrarian roots.

Today the situation is much different. Our division of labor is much more developed. We are very far from our agrarian roots, and our cities depend upon massive technologies, enormous wealth, and prodigious expenditures of energy. If something happens to the modern trinity of Technology, Wealth, and Energy, hundreds of millions of people worldwide could die. Unless, of course, we can figure out how to jump start a sustainable, distributist, personalist society real fast, as in Very Very Fast, which is to say, in weeks, not months. Well, ours is a faith rooted in miracles, and if the judgment does come upon us (by war, by technological failure, by human error, or by the demons Hubris, Deviousness, Arrogance, Exploitation, Violence and/or Oppression) maybe we will develop the ability to learn -- and thus to have faith -- quickly. If the fields become suddenly white and ready to harvest, will you be ready to go immediately to work? Do you have catechetical and evangelical materials stockpiled at your house, ready to give to your neighbors if they suddenly begin to ask, "what should we do now?" Are you ready to be like Paul and give reasons for the Faith which is within you? Now is the time of preparation for the harvest. Remember that procrastination of a deadly demon that kills.

In the meantime, let us mark well all the words of today's readings and hold them in our hearts, pondering them deeply.

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