Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 5:1-6.13-14.16-17.23-28; Luke 21:12-19)
In his autobiography Justice Clarence Thomas writes of the ordeal he underwent after being nominated to the Supreme Court. He says that a coalition of self-interest groups conspired with a group of senators to undermine his confirmation. Throughout the struggle Senator John Danforth, Thomas’ mentor and an ordained Episcopalian priest, counseled him to allow the “Holy Ghost” speak through him. Much like Jesus advises his followers to do in the gospel today, Thomas was to trust in the Lord to see him through the lies and calumnies that his detractors were raising.
For awhile Catholics in the United States did not have to worry about defending themselves against persecution. Earlier in the nation’s history a virulent anti-Catholicism festered in America. The Ku Klux Klan, for example, singled out Catholics as well as Blacks and Jews as America’s enemies. Then, for roughly the middle of the last century, a genuine toleration of religion thrived through most of the country. Everyone was encouraged to “attend the church or synagogue of your choice.” More recently, however, Christian beliefs and practices have been under severe scrutiny. Many, especially the sophisticated, cannot accept as genuine those who profess a religion which forbids extramarital sex and values human life as inviolable from conception to natural death. We are likely to have to defend our faith again if not our own lives.
As Jesus would tell us, the current secular atmosphere does not call us to prepare speeches in defense of our faith. But we should pray to God for enlightenment and also take advantages of opportunities to learn what the Church teaches. Fortunately, excellent resources are at hand. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, is available on the Internet. We need not worry that our faith is unreasonable much less ridiculous. The truth is just the opposite. Although faith is a divine gift, it does not oppose rationality. Indeed, for twenty centuries Christian intellectuals have contributed immensely to world thought.