Homily, 9-19-22; Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time:
The Book of Proverbs is part of the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament. Reading through proverbs is always an interesting source for meditation and for pursuing wisdom. And our first reading today, Proverbs 3:27-34, is advice on how we should act if we are to be wise. The verses leading up to today’s passage set the tone and give the purpose for that advice. Verses 21-26 read: “My son, do not let these slip from your sight: hold to deliberation and planning; So will they be life to your soul, and an adornment for your neck. Then you may go your way securely; your foot will never stumble; When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, of the ruin of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from the snare.”
If we do not want to stumble, if we want to be unafraid, if we want sleep that is sweet, if we want to keep our feet from the snare, we are told to heed the advice offered in today’s passage on how to build good relationships with others. We are called to serve our fellowmen in kindness and without delay. We are called to be people of peace and righteousness. We are told not to envy the lawless man and not to follow his ways. This is good advice for us to follow to be kind and peaceful and content with what we have obtained honestly.
We live in a world where this is counter-cultural. People are told to look out for number one. Government decisions are made by devious political chicanery, trickery, and personal attacks, not by peaceful discussion. Politicians envy other wicked politicians and follow in their ways to pursue mammon and not in God’s ways.
We are facing a battle in our state to defeat Proposal 3 on the November ballot, an extreme proposal to enshrine a so-called right to abortion in our state constitution. I am sure most of you are aware of it. The effort that is promoting this proposal embodies all the evil that is spoken of in Proverbs, and we must fight against it with the wisdom offered in Proverbs and by our Church leaders. Archbishop Vigneron and Bishop Boyea of the Lansing diocese have both written and spoken out strongly calling us to action. Bishop Boyea wrote an article suggesting that the promoters of the proposal are fighting like Hell to pass it, and so we must fight like Heaven to defeat it. He suggests we use the same spiritual weapons we employ during Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
The prayer and fasting aspects made perfect sense to me, but I stumbled a little when it came to almsgiving in this context. And then I received an email asking for donations to help publicize the truth about the proposal though advertising and videos and mailings. And I hesitated without pushing the donate button. It took a while for it to sink in that this was indeed almsgiving. It was in a way helping the poor unborn children that cannot speak for themselves. It was a way to give them a voice. And still I hesitated as I often do when asked to part with a small portion of the blessings I have received.
But today’s advice from Proverbs admonished me. We heard: “Say not to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give,’ when you can give at once.”
Do your part to defeat Proposal 3. Pray, fast, and be generous in support of the effort to inform the people of Michigan of the truth of the evil it contains.