Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 1:16-25; Luke 11:37-41)
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...” Most Americans recognize these words from the Declaration of Independence almost as surely as they recognize the red, white, and blue. However, by speaking of truths that are “self-evident,” the words imply a reality that many Americans have trouble seeing. That reality is natural law governing human actions.
In the reading from Romans today, Paul refers to natural law. He writes, “...for although they knew God, they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.” He means to say that Greek and Roman pagans should be aware that their carnal excesses are offensive to the Creator by their observance of human nature. For this reason Paul exhorts Roman Christians not to follow the example of their neighbors.
Today law courts and law schools increasingly deny natural law in favor of the idea that law is the agreement of citizens. The failure to recognize natural law is subversive for it not only has led to such a pernicious practice as physician-assisted suicide but also can easily deny an ideal so fundamental as human rights. The Church, citing St. Paul among many other sources, benefits society greatly by insisting on the existence and the pertinence of natural law.