Bishop Calvo celebrated Mass today at our St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno Nevada. This being pro-life Sunday, Bishop Calvo presented the theme, John 10:10, based upon Deuteronomy 30: 11-20:
“This Mitzvah which I Mitzvah to you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off… The word is very close to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you do it…”
“Choose life, too live, you, and your seed. Your life is to love the Personal Name your Mighty Judge, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him; that is your life, and the length of your days; to dwell in the land, which the Personal Name swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
The Mitzvah is to choose life. All life is life in potentiality, from conception to the grave. Some argue that the fetus is not life. Others argue that the working poor are not life, or the Muslims, the Jews, the Hispanics, those who reside on the wrong side of the railroad tracks; the list is long and endless.
Bishop Calvo related how we read “Life means “Life for me.” The writer means “Life, for everybody. All life is life in potentiality. As Catholics and Christians God calls us to promote life in its fullest potential.
When we see the 50.2 million living in food-insecure households, including 17.2 million children, choosing life means making sure these people have sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. When we see the US has 5% of the world population, and 25% of those in prison, choosing life means asking why and correcting the problem.
We see cases in Nevada, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and New Jersey, where crooked governors cut education. They do so the wealthiest 20% of the population can bring home half of all income and control 85% of America’s wealth. This leaves the poorest 50% with 20% of all income, to control 13% of all wealth. Choosing life means voting against these governors and choosing representatives who choose life, life lived to its greatest potential for all people.
St. Augustine writes in the City of God, Book 19, chapter 12:
There is no man who does not wish to have peace. Those making war desire nothing but victory to attain peace with glory. When this is done, there is peace. It is with the desire for peace that those who take pleasure in exercising their warlike nature in command and battle wage wars. Peace is the end sought for by war.
Every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace. They who intentionally interrupt the peace have no hatred of peace, but wish it changed into a peace that suits them better.
Bishop Calvo related the Hebrew word, “שלום” comes from a root, meaning completion. A Greek word, “ἐντολὴ,” The literal translation of this word is “In the End.” It is the Greek word for “Commandment.” A Commandment is what brings about the end of God’s will. Peace is the end we all seek, by focusing upon God’s will, not our own. What is God’s will? Jesus answers in Mark 12:30:
“ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου.”
“Love Kyrie your God, with all of your hearts, with all of your life force, and with all of your measure, including your wealth.”
How do we love God? What do we give someone who already has everything? We respect what is his, as Bishop Calvo related, a concern for his planet, and in particular each other. Bishop Calvo also made a comparison similar to one made by St. Augustine in his City of God Book 2 Chapter 21. St. Augustine quotes Cicero, quoting the General who defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars, Scipio:
As among the different sounds, which proceed from lyres, flutes, and the human voice, there must be a certain harmony, which a cultivated ear cannot endure to hear disturbed, or jarring. This comes through full concord by the modulation of voices very unlike one another. Where reason modulates the diverse elements of the state, there is a perfect concord from the upper, lower, and middle classes as from various sounds. What musicians call harmony in singing, in matters of state, is concord and is the strictest bond and best security of any republic.
True peace, true justice, is concord among all people, a sense of completion coming when we play Schubert’s Ave Maria after practice. That sense of completion is peace, “שלום,” Shalom. To do this, we must let the trumpet player be a trumpet player, and not force him to play timpani. There is no room in this for deciding some people are destined to be minimum wage, menial workers, so others can play the glory instruments.
There is room for allowing the great conductor, who is God, to lead the orchestra. We the offspring of our Blessed Virgin Mother are to follow that lead by completing his, “ἐντολὴ,” that which brings to completion. Only that will bring peace, and only that will bring justice.
That means promoting the full potential of life for all people, and not as we see it for our neighbor, but as God sees it. That means promoting education for all people, helping them to “Be all you can be,” as the US Army commercial relates. That means education for all, young and old, throughout life. That means an end to the budget cuts for education and doing something about the extremely unequal distribution of wages. The question before us, are we up to the task of fulfilling the word of God, or do we want to face the curse?