By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Up north we called them ‘Snow Days.’ In San Antonio those days are called ‘Ice Days.’ No matter what you call those inclement days, they are translated into “No School!” Hurrah! Oh how we loved those days…until the ‘make-up’ days cut into our summer vacation.
It had been snowing for hours when an announcement came over the intercom: “Will the students parked on University Drive please move their cars so we can begin plowing?” Twenty minutes later another announcement came over the intercom: “Will the 1,299 students who went to move 26 cars please return to class!”
Somewhere Paul Harvey wrote this passage. He entitled it, “If I were the Devil.”
“I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world. I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man’s effort, instead of God’s blessings. I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people. I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue. I would convince people that character is not an issue when ti comes to leadership. I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies. I would make it socially acceptable to take one’s own life, and invent machines to make it convenient. I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings. I would take God our of the schools, where even the mention of His Name was grounds for a law suit. I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them. I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda. I would attack the family, the backbone of my nation. I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation. I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art. I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled at. I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct. I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive. I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional.
Oh well, I guess I would leave things pretty much they way they are.”
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion. When that decision came down we knew that it would be catastrophic. Little did we know how detrimental it would be? Little did we know how this decision would morally decay so much of our society? Apparently, the devil knew as Paul Harvey captured the moral degeneration of family and society in, “If I were the devil.”
Our liturgy this weekend is filled with the message of ‘Repent and Believe’ along with the promise of new life. Life follows sincere repentance and conversion. The prophet Jonah warns the city of Nineveh to turn from their evil ways or face dire consequences. The people listened. Even the king listened. They changed their ways. But it seems that we Americans have turned a deaf ear to the Word of God. We have listened to false prophets who are promising us the good life filled with comfort, pleasure and convenience. Have we been duped? It seems that we bought into the good life. We are also facing the consequences.
Scottish philosopher Alexander Tyler of the University of Edinburgh noted eight stages in the rise and fall of society.
From bondage to spiritual growth
From spiritual growth to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence
From dependence back to bondage
Where do you think we fit into Tyler’s stages??
Six transit gloria mundi!
Fr. Jim Shea C.Ss.R.