THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for February 13th, 2014
Liturgical texts here
What’s left of Solomon’s Temple, destroyed 70 A.D.
THE beautiful story of Solomon’s achievements, when working in harmony with God’s grace, came to a halt.
When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God.
Solomon no longer followed God “unreservedly as his father David had done.” He began to compromise. In the end, the Temple he constructed, and all its beauty, was reduced to rubble by the Romans.
This stands as a profound warning for us who are the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” Our God is a jealous God. cf. A Great Shaking Idolatry to Him is what adultery is to us: a betrayal of love. But we have to understand what this divine jealously is—not the dysfunctional obsessiveness of a suspicious lover. Rather, God’s jealous love is an all-encompassing, passionate desire to see us wholly and completely restored and transformed into His image in which we were created. You could say that God is jealous for our happiness.
It is enough to say that God looked at created man, and found him so beautiful that he fell in love with him. Jealous of this portent of his, God himself became the custodian and possessor of man, and said, “I have created everything for you. I give you dominion over everything. All is yours and you will be all Mine.” —Jesus to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, The Gift of Living in the Divine Will, Rev. J. Iannuzz, p. 37; Note: passages of Luisa’s writings contained in this doctoral dissertation have been given the Ecclesiastical Approbation of the The Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, and therefore, are permissible to be publicly disseminated; quoted here with author’s permission.
Compromise kills joy. It wittles at the foundations of the soul until finally the whole edifice of virtue collapses—if one persists in sin, especially serious sin.
Compromise is a path of self-deception. It is believing the lie that a certain sin is going to bless one’s temple and bring happiness… but instead, it pollutes, detracts, and destroys the peace that is the foundation of the soul.
Compromise opens the door to evil. In today’s Gospel, someone, somewhere along the line compromised, leaving open a “temple door” for Satan to enter. The Gospel is actually a warning to parents who dabble in compromise, whether it is pornography, horror movies, the occult, or other evils: compromise opens your home to the evil one and leaves souls vulnerable to his malicious operations.
…they mingled with the nations and learned their works. They served their idols, which became a snare for them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. (Today’s Psalm)
Jesus warned that the one who listens to His words but does not keep them is like one who builds his house on sand. When the storms of life come, the edifice completely collapses—like Solomon’s temple. Satan always presents himself and sin as a better way to adorn your temple… but he always leaves a mess. God presents His Word as life… which leaves the aroma of sanctity.
What happens when you give yourself unreservedly to God? He gives Himself unreservedly to you. Brothers and sisters, we are living in a world that is fomenting compromise perhaps as no other generation has. Ah yes, sin has always been around. But we have managed to turn even the natural law upside down in our “laws”! St. Paul warned that there would come a time when there would be a great rebellion, an apostasy, a time of lawlessness that would usher in the “lawless one.” A time of compromise.
The greatest apostasy since the birth of the Church is clearly far advanced all around us. —Dr. Ralph Martin, Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization; The Catholic Church at the End of Age: What is the Spirit Saying? p. 292
You and I, like Solomon, are being faced with critical choices today: to go along with the rest of the world’s fallacious reasoning, to remain “neutral” on moral issues—a kind of faux “tolerance.” But those who do are building their lives on sand; their spiritual foundation will crumble when the storms of persecution come. In fact, the “temple” of the entire human community is now at risk:
The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil. The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general. If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other “lights”, that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Easter Vigil Homily, April 7th, 2012
We would do well to reflect upon the ruins of Solomon’s compromise… but even more upon the promise of restoration that comes to all who repent, renounce this world, and give themselves wholeheartedly to God.
…what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar [Satan]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said: “I will live with them and move among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Therefore, come forth from them and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch nothing unclean; then I will receive you and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:16-17)
- What to do when you’re caught in compromise: The Tiger in the Cage
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