||Deacon Joe Hulway
||November 1, 2008
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”
|We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the questions that Jesus asks
of others, and indirectly of us. When Jesus asks this question, He had just commented on how the people were smart enough to recognize
physical signs to predict the weather; when it would rain and when it would be hot. He calls them hypocrites for their failure to recognize His
presence despite all the prophesies and all the miraculous works He had performed. And then after He challenges them with the question,
He goes on to tell them the consequences for their refusal to see. He says: “If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to
the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
We are called to be honest; to recognize our sins and settle matters with the just Judge while we still are on our journey to judgment day. If
we ask for God’s forgiveness and mercy, instead of being obstinate and unrepentant sinners, we can escape punishments in Purgatory in
the next life. We must look for God’s signs and act accordingly regarding what is right and wrong. We must form our consciences properly
and then judge for ourselves what is right according to God’s laws. We cannot remain conveniently ignorant in an attempt to follow the ways
of the world.
Gaudium et Spes, the 2nd Vatican Council Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, states: “To the extent that [believers]
neglect their own training in the faith, or teach erroneous doctrine, or are deficient in their religious, moral or social life, they must be
said to conceal rather than reveal the authentic face of God and religion.” (#19) We are all called to reveal the face of God and of true
religion. Judge what is right and act accordingly. Let your journey through life be a source of that revelation and let your matters be settled
along the way.
|Where do I start? I guess I can start by apologizing for not issuing a newsletter for the month of October. September was a blur; a time for
youth group to start up and, of course, the time for wine-making. We were blessed with beautiful weather for this year’s event and everything
went smoothly with an experienced crew of friends. It’s hard work, but also a lot of fun.
I bit off a little more than I could chew going back to school as both a student and a teacher. My 6-½ week teaching experience gave me a
much greater appreciation for being a high school teacher in a public school. It was a little frustrating and disappointing at first, but slowly I
became more comfortable with my new role, and ended with some success stories that leave me with hope for the future. I can’t deny that I
was relieved on the last day of my assignment, but it was not without some sadness and some hugs from students as well. I learned a lot
from my mistakes, and know that the next adventure will be much better.
The day after my teaching assignment ended, I was in another classroom taking the standardized State of Michigan tests for teacher
certification. I took the basic skills test in the morning which was not a problem, but then was required to double up and take both the
physics and mathematics tests during the same block in the afternoon. It was a requirement from Oakland for my conditional acceptance
into their teaching program. It would have been nice to have had more time for each test, but hopefully I passed them both. We’ll know in a
few weeks. My classes at Oakland have also been quite interesting. They are much more meaningful because of my recent teaching
experience; it’s a lot easier to see how adolescent learning theory applies when you’re living the dream.
|The last time I wrote, the election was nine weeks away; now it is three days away. I encourage you all to exercise your right and duty to vote;
but, if you already haven't researched the issues, please do so in the next three days. As Jesus asked: "Why do you not judge for
yourselves what is right?" Form your conscience and do not vote on feelings or on selfish concerns for things of this world. Recognize the
signs and determine what is right; vote according to how you would vote walking along side Jesus on your way to judgment. Remember the
importance of issues relating to a culture of life. The Catholic Bishops remind us in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful
Citizenship that all issues are not of equal consideration. They say: "The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from
the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many."
I found the following scripture verse especially appropriate for this election time:
"Here, then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live
and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. If, however, you turn away your
hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not
have a long life on the land which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. I call heaven and earth today to witness against
you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by
loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the
land which the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." (Deut. 30:15-20)
Here are two prayers from the Bishop's website; one to pray before the election and one after:
General information and videos on our responsibilities as Christians to be faithful citizens and to properly form our consciences can be
For Michigan residents we are faced with the challenge of defeating Proposal 2 which calls for removing all limitations and restrictions
on embryonic stem cell research. According to Catholic teaching, embryonic stem cell research is immoral because it requires the killing of
human embryos to obtain their stem cells. But even if you do not agree regarding the immorality of killing embryos, here are some other
points to consider:
- Embryonic stem cell research is already legal in Michigan and is ongoing at a center at The University of Michigan. But the
proponents of Proposal 2 are not satisfied; they want more.
- Stem cell research is a good thing when done with "adult" stem cells obtained from the patient's own skin or other tissues, or from
umbilical cord blood. Many cures and treatments have resulted from these stem cells which are obtained using morally-acceptable
techniques. Stem cell research, but not embryonic stem cell research, should be encouraged and is supported by the Catholic
Church and most all research organizations. Be sure to recognize the nuances and deception in the pro-Proposal 2 commercials.
They imply that those against Proposal 2 are against stem cell research and against finding cures.
- After ten years of embryonic stem cell research there has not been a single cure or treatment developed. If a cure were to be
developed it would lead to another dilemma; the embryonic cells are not a direct match with the patient's own tissue and rejection
would result. The way to get around this small problem is to create a clone of the patient and then kill that clone while it is still in the
embryonic stage to obtain its stem cells. Sounds like science fiction, but that is what Proposal 2 can lead to. One immoral act leads
to another. Cloning is currently illegal in Michigan , but this will not last if Proposal 2 changes our state constitution.
- The scariest part of Proposal 2 is the last item of the proposal which states: “Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict, or
discourage stem cell research, future therapies, and cures.” This definitely goes too far. We won't even be able to discourage
stem cell research. There are no other industries that have constitutional protection against current or future regulation. If restrictions
on cloning interferes with a cure or therapy, then that law will be discarded. Why do we want to vote to take away all regulations on an
industry that is in its infancy; one where we can't even anticipate the consequences?
|Homilies and Bulletin Articles
|There are five new homilies. The new homilies that I have posted at the website are:
|Status of the Book
|I made absolutely no progress on the book during my teaching assignment. I was swamped between school, classes at Oakland, and
preparing for the certification tests. It's good to be retired again and I need to resist distractions so that I can get back to the reason I retired
in the first place: to finish the book. There will be plenty of time for career pursuits when it is done. I have finished Chapter 2, which became
much longer than I intended, and have made pretty good progress an both Chapters 3 & 4.