Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Kings 17:5-8.13-15a.18; Matthew 7:1-5)
In his Second Inaugural Address Abraham Lincoln named slavery as the sin which brought about the great Civil War. Knowing that the blame was not limited to the South, he proclaimed God’s wrath on both parties to the conflict. “He gives to both North and South this terrible war,” Lincoln said, “as the woe due to those by whom the offense came…” It is not likely that another president will soon accuse the nation of sin, but today’s reading from II Kings does not hesitate to do so for Israel.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel has been demolished. Its people are in exile. How could this have happened? everyone wanted to know. For the historian who composed I and II Kings the answer is evident. Israel fell so profoundly because it did not follow the covenant it had made with the Lord. In other words, God would not defend a people that betrayed their promise.
We have good reason to question the future of the United States. Its economy is strong and its military still the most powerful on earth. But its commitment to human rights has been compromised significantly by the de-penalization of abortion. We Catholics perform a great service to the nation by protesting the ongoing slaughter of the most vulnerable of human beings. Perhaps people will recognize the crime, change their lives, and renew the country.