Homily: The Upcoming Bishops Meeting and Canon 915
Next week there will be a meeting of the US bishops in Washington to discuss among other things whether or not politicians who support abortion should receive the Eucharist. If you remember, I teach that receiving the Eucharist is an option in the Catholic church and those who do not feel they should receive can discuss it with me or Fr. Francisco. However, I make it clear that not receiving the Eucharist because you feel you are not ready honors God as well. The question to be addressed in Washington is should a politician who supports abortion be restricted by the bishop from receiving the Eucharist as this is what Canon 915 requires.
This is a canon law and we also believe it is a manifestation of the wisdom of God.
Therefore, politicians who support abortion according to the discussion in Washington must be told to refrain from communion. However, that statement outside of the two commandments in today's Gospel becomes the letter of the law. The reason why the man in today’s Gospel is not far from the kingdom of God is because of the spirit of the law.
The politicians in question to be discussed by the bishops would be engaged in an act that ran against the wisdom of God. Therefore, a politician who supported abortion and walked into this Church and did not receive the Eucharist would be honoring God in a way that receiving communion would not.
What we are all required to do is to submit ourselves to the will of God that we might carry out his will which is love. However, as humans, we can make our own choice of what we think is right but our decision will be based on limited information. If it is not the will of God who is love it will be less loving at best and completely destructive at worst. So we must stand before the Lord and be humble before His wisdom for he is truth and we are just creations of this truth. We are learning daily what it means to be this truth and deepen it.
Obeying scientific truth is a form of truth that does not contradict God at all but if we do not have the full picture of truth it will give us a less than accurate set of facts on which to make our decision.
Let me give you an example from one of my favorite stories. The Titanic. The reason why the Titanic sank was more than because it struck an iceberg. In fact, it would never have sunk if the scenario happened during the day. They were working with the facts, but not the full facts, so they assumed going by the facts they had that the ship was unsinkable and that there was nothing to inhibit the vessel from arriving on time or even earlier in New York. They were working with what they thought was a full set of facts but we learn later that was not true.
When we hear today’s words and seek to humbly live the law of Love from God, we begin by understanding that God is God and we are not. We further understand that God is love and we are learning how to love. So we humbly listen to his voice and seek to do his will.
What the mandate of canon 915 actually means is that what you are doing is against the law of love. If you persist in the law you will be completely alienated from this law of love by default. Stop what you are doing so that you may seek a deeper truth from the source of all truth who is God who is love.
If you disregard this, then, you will further alienate yourself from the law of love and become the pinnacle of the unloving.
This is the spirit behind the rule. God is love. God is the source of all being. Therefore, we have a choice to be humble before him so that we may absorb all we need to become transformed into the fullness of being to which we are called. We can instead reject or ignore him and be lost in our own will, which will never lead us to anything but, at best, folly and, at worst, disaster.
Jerome LeJeune whose cause for canonization has been put forth and the subject of a new book by Aude DuGast whom I will be interviewing for the radio show on Wednesday. He described the difference between faith and science as faith is what is truth and science is what is verified truth. Everything that science verifies is true but as in the example of the Titanic, it is not the full picture. If we act on this limited amount of information, we can create disasters as what happened in the Titanic.
When we instead stop and listen and seek direction from the source of all that is true and He informs us beyond what is just verified truth then we learn a deeper truth that humanizes us and makes us more what Christ is leading us to be.
What canon law and church teaching call us to do is to defer to what is true even if it is above verified truth. It is to recognize a deeper and more complete infinite truth beyond what can be verified and act upon it.
When someone chooses to obey that truth but at present cannot, refraining from the Eucharist is acknowledging our lack of understanding of the full truth, our struggle with the verified truth in light of what we know of the full truth, and our humble choice to sit and wait in prayer for a deeper understanding for the full truth.
The bishops will not explain it that way. They will use natural law and philosophy to explain their position and will cite the letter of the law. It will be like saying do not go too fast through the April waters of the North Atlantic because it would not be prudent. Whereas what they need to do is help people understand that there is a greater truth above us and if we do not accept that we will create titanic disasters.
They will also not address the idolatry of putting party loyalty before seeking to do the will of this truth
Meanwhile, who are you going to listen to? Those who point to a deeper truth or those who put dogs' heads into torturous cages with sand fleas, cut out their vocal cords and then tell us to follow the science. There is nothing in the love of God in that action either and those people should refrain from communion too.