Palm Sunday 2015
As Holy Week begins, we might ask ourselves a question: Are We Politically Correct Like Pilate? Saint Mark's Gospel tells us that he was certainly a biblical version of the ‘go along to get along’ crowd. When he asked the throng what to do with Jesus, he clearly demonstrated that he knew Jesus was blameless. We got further confirmation of culpability when Pilate cited the jealousy of the Chief Priests for the arrest of Jesus. In washing his hands of the entire affair, he showed his lack of conviction and profound failure to take a stand.
In this final period of heightened anticipation, will examining our consciences find us similarly weak-spined? By scrutinizing our actions in relation to prominent issues of the day, we might find an answer that does little to vindicate us. Here, then, is an opportunity to search our hearts and find His Truth.
1. Are We Politically Correct About Abortion?
Mouthing the prolife mantra among like-minded friends isn’t enough to make us genuinely prolife. What exactly are we willing to do for the innocent, voiceless victims of the Culture of Death? Can we be found praying for the unborn - either at Mass, in private prayer, or at abortion mills? Do we seek out conversations, even to the point of discomfort, in order to share the message of God’s unconditional love? How about the ‘exception’ children? Rape and incest are taboo subjects to many, yet the children whose conception traces back to a violent, unlawful attack on their mothers are certainly beloved children of God.
2. Same Sex ‘Marriage’, a Leading Politically Correct Issue
It’s all over the news. If you don’t rise to defend the sinful actions of those who suffer from same sex attraction (SSA), you are somehow deemed judgmental and uncharitable. The justly charitable position fails to be mentioned – loving all people enough to witness to the Gospel. Standing silently by while the mainstream of society pretends that acting on SSA tendencies is moral and even something to be proudly proclaimed, is to witness to the twisted logic of the devil. That all people deserve to live with God-given dignity is a given. Yet to praise those who persist in sinful living is to scandalize others and to lull those searching for the truth into morally fatal complacency.
3. Leaving Religion at the Church Door
Whether it’s the leading moral issues of the day or subtle rebellious acts, leaving our faith at the church door after Sunday Mass is seen by some as an accepted politically correct way of life. Listening to scripture, partaking of the True Presence, and mouthing the words of prayer – all these are of no benefit if they aren’t the vehicle that sends us out into the week, nourished and armed with conviction. In order to reach for the goal of sainthood, desired for all of us by God, the Holy Sacrifice of Mass is the springboard toward living life by sharing His Word.
4. Ignoring the Promotion of Intrinsic Evils
Do we facilitate organizations, celebrities, or events that glorify evil? Once we know of these unholy alliances, we share a moral responsibility to live accordingly. The Girl Scouts and their collaboration with Planned Parenthood or the acceptance of embryonic stem cell research and abortion by the March of Dimes, begs for action from the faithful. Do we share this information with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to contact the offending groups and charitably express our moral outrage? What’s more important in our lives – the cookies and the praise for donations, or the unvarnished truth?
5. Speaking Up For Those Falsely Accused
Have you ever been present when someone was maligned? It’s so easy to either slip into an uncomfortable silence or to share in the gossip. But is that what we are shown by the examples of Jesus and His saints? We’ve not been charged with having an easy life; we’ve been charged with walking the narrow path. With this comes the responsibility to refrain from gossip, idle talk, calumny, and other sins of the tongue. Who stood up for Jesus when He was being falsely accused? The politically correct crowd didn’t. They remained silent or worse, shouted “crucify him, crucify him”. Although they knew of no wrong with which to accuse Him, they gave in to the mob mentality. Surely this isn’t something to be emulated.
6. Ignoring the Poor and Struggling
They’re out there, waiting to be acknowledged, looking for a kind word or smile. How many times do we simply turn away, cast down our eyes, and forget them as soon as we walk away? Remembering the poor or struggling doesn’t involve just the obvious Lenten alms giving. It can entail going out of our way to smile at a weary stranger or the mother whose life is overflowing with beloved yet boisterous children. They may look frazzled but we can make a difference by a smile, a kind word, or an offer of help with some small task. There are those who are poor for lack of love in nursing homes or those who are poor in catechesis and struggling to find Truth. We have untold opportunities to make a difference in the lives of everyone we encounter.
7. Failing to Speak Out Against Evil In Media
It isn’t necessary to name them. We all know of movies, television shows, and music that are so offensive to moral sensibilities that the heavens cry out for their denouncement. How do we react? Are we content to stand by and revel in the fact that we, ourselves, don’t participate? Or do we take a stand? We certainly have the opportunities. Yes, posting a truthful warning on your Facebook wall or speaking out at a gathering may garner some uncharitable comments toward you, but is that really enough reason to abstain from doing what is right? We will often find that, when one person has the courage to take a stand, others will join in – relieved that someone took the initiative.
So how do we score when we ask ourselves these seven questions? Is there a bit too much complacency or is there something more we could do? These are things we would do well to ponder as we enter into Holy Week. As our priest told us during his homily today, we can’t bypass the Cross on our way to the Resurrection. To be fully immersed in the season we must partake of the sacrificial giving before we claim the Easter Joy!
“We can't let Holy Week be just a kind of commemoration. It means contemplating the mystery of Jesus Christ as something which continues to work in our souls.” Saint Joemaria Escriva