Jesus calls the blind man who sees and not the sighted who are blind


The Gospel reading for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time begins with some interesting puns that only work in the Aramaic language. First, the story begins in Jericho, a town whose name means “Moon,” in Aramaic. In Hebrew, “Jericho,” can mean either “Moon,” or “Scent.” Deuteronomy 34:3 tells us the place, far from being the moon, was the place date palms, “Tamar,” or “Tamaracks,” grow. Tamar is the mother of two of Judah’s children. Jericho is also the first city Joshua possessed when he crossed the Jordon River.

Jericho is the first city Jesus possesses on his way to Jerusalem.

The second interesting name in our Gospel reading is the name of the blind man, Bartimaeus. This man’s name means “Son of Timaeus.” “Timaeus” in Hebrew means “Innocence.” In Greek, it means “Value.” This man truly lives a life of despair, caused by his blindness in a society that took a dim view of the handicapped. Our society also tends to take a dim view of those unable to complete in our so-called free-market economy.

Like many in our society today, the crowd scolds the man crying for help from the king, Jesus, telling him to be quiet; people as important as Jesus do not have time for outcasts like the son of innocence/Bartimaeus. Jesus is not like earthly kings. He specifically calls for this son of value. For Jesus, all people have value. Like so many in our society today, seeing that Bartimaeus has an inside track with the boss, they try to ingratiate themselves with the blind man, escorting him to see the king of kings.

The crowd lacks something Bartimaeus has, because he is blind. “Blind,” also has two meanings in St. Mark’s Gospel. If we go back two short chapters we can find the second meaning.

When they arrived at Bethsaida, (Hunting lodge) they brought Jesus a blind man and begged him to touch him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up he replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Jesus laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.

The key phrase in this passage is, “Trees walking.” In Hebrew and Aramaic, the word for Counselor, old stodgy fellow who counsels the king, is the same as the word for “Tree.” The first time Jesus touches this first blind man, he sees people, but he only sees their exterior. Everyone looks the same, like stodgy old men more interested in rules, than in people. The second time Jesus touches the blind man, he sees, not just the outside, the persona people want them to see, he sees the real people crying out to be seen and heard, on the inside.

This brings us to the first reading and the essence of Jewish spirituality. In our first reading, the people return home after the Babylonian exile. The essence of Jewish spirituality comes from Deuteronomy 5:1-7.

Remember, “I am the Personal Name, your Almighty Judge, who brought you out of the land of Egypt/Oppression, the house of menial labor.” Truly to remember is to remember what it was like to be there and to remember our rescue. This is the essence of Jewish spirituality.

The other people on the road in our Gospel reading for the Thirtieth Sunday in ordinary time do not remember their rescue. They have not needed that rescue; they have always been able to see, at least the stodgy old men all of us want the world to see. It seems strange that we would want to be stodgy old men. We call it showing we are tough, tough enough to make it in this cruel world.

Jesus teaches the opposite. The blind man has nothing to hide; we have already seen his vulnerability. Therefore, looking to himself, he can see the vulnerability in others. He can see. The tough old codgers are still blind.

This brings us the question about us. Do we live in Jericho, the city that looks like the moon? Are we the tough old codgers with the thick skin who can take it in this cruel world? Do we live in Jericho, the city of Palm trees, sensitive to the vulnerabilities of others and willing to help them along the way? The choice is ours. Jesus calls the blind man, who sees, and not the sighted who are blind.

We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 6 Concluding remarks part 2


Our Liturgy of the Hours includes the Magnificat. “He disperses the arrogant of mind and heart. He overthrows rulers from their thrones and lifts up the lowly.” To call for ruler’s overthrow is a political act. The Magnificat is a political manifesto. Forgetting Matthew 25:31, some argue, Jesus himself never appeals for government involvement. They also forget Jesus quote in Mark 12 quoted earlier.

The Canticle of Zechariah tells us, God rescues us to give public service to him in dedication and צֶדֶק/charity before him all our days. Our faith demands a faith response, to God and to others. Zechariah addressed this faith response to us, “You, child, will be called Navy of the Most High. You will go before the Personal Name to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation/Jesus, through the forgiveness of their failures. He will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

One Encyclical tells us in section 14, “Sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil. It is never lawful, to do evil that good may come of it.” It may be acceptable to stay home on Election Day and tolerate a non-pro-life official. It is never lawful to elect a politician who supports the culture of death.

Those opposed to Catholic Action, as a nation, who oppose helping the poor, as a nation, support a Culture of death. The principle of the new opinions Pope Pious X speaks of is, “To more easily attract those who differ from the Church should shape her teachings with the spirit of the age.”

New opinions are new opinions, coming from Modernist Conservatives, or Contemporary Liberals. Catholics reached our high point in the late 1970s, when the U.S. population was nearly 30% Catholic. The Catholic percentage is now 23%.” Something changed and it is not the content of our faith. We need to return/ teshuvah, to the way things were, before the last thirty years novelties.

Some quote American Catholics claiming some commandments are more important than others. C.C.C. 2069 and that cardinal I referred to earlier in his Doctrinal Note on the participation of Catholics in political life: November 24, 2002

The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each “word” refers to each of the others and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. The two tablets shed light on one another; they form an organic unity. To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good.

Notice the phrase, “political commitment.” The cardinal tells us we need to shape our political commitments in light of all of Catholic moral tradition, not five points we pick out at random.

Liberals arguing for pro-life after birth are not sincere. They are not here. When we focus on what Liberals say, they are the head, not us. I know of three persons who are sincere and they do matter, Father Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s acceptable loss of life is zero, before and after birth. Ezekiel 18:32. The time has come to promote life.

We looked at Psalm 72 and Psalm 82, which make clear that government does have a role in promoting life for the poor, the outcast, the marginalized, in the Catholic tradition. Yes, we must work as much as possible to help people help themselves. Everyone wants the least possible government. To argue for less government than is necessary is irresponsible. To argue for more is both wasteful and contra productive.

Some argue they vote for the less of two evils. This is in spite of Humanae Vitae telling us it is unlawful to do evil in the hope good may come from it. The argument also depends upon the logical fallacy of false dilemma. There is always a third choice.

We have 231 Catholic colleges and universities and 26 law schools, combined, graduating 70,000 students each year. We cannot find 535 willing to run for Congress and for President? We cannot find one? Are our universities failing that badly? Where are the Catholic/Christian candidates? Finding these candidates is part of Catholic Action. Finding these candidates is Faithful Discipleship. There are lawyers watching this debate. Why do they not run for public office, supporting all of Catholic moral teaching? Should they decide to run, voting for them and taking the other steps of Catholic Action is Faithful Discipleship.

 

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We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 5 Concluding remarks part 1


Bishop Berkeley asked, “If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” He answered, “Yes! God hears.” If people suffer from poverty and injustice and nobody is around to hear, liberal or conservative, do they make a sound?”

Yes! God hears, and he will take action upon those who choose not to hear. Psalm 34:7. Ezekiel 33 tells of the watchman. We have the message. We must speak out. God holds us accountable if we do not remind the Russia, those who think themselves first, of their folly. God will punish them, but he will hold us accountable.

Deuteronomy 28:13 relates, “The Personal Name will make you the head not the tail. You will not turn aside from any of the words, to the right hand, or to the left.” When we point to the other guy as our excuse for not promoting life as Holy Mother Church defines the term, we become the tail. God calls us to better. Declaration of Independence states the purpose of government.”

Catholics define “Life,” as life lived. We treat our neighbor the same way we would treat God, who is in our neighbor. The conservative style of government results in budget deficits, high unemployment, poverty and the culture of death.

Pope Pious X’s emphasis on Catholic Action is therefore the wise choice. Tide has a commercial for their spot remover. A job applicant interviews for a job, but he has a spot on his shirt. A voice dub over plays loudly. All the interviewer hears is the voice dub over. So it is with the 47% of the population, the poor, the outcast, the marginalized, seeing the bumper stickers at conservative rallies. They see people at the rally, then the spots, the bumper stickers promoting a culture of death. They remember the double binds and the false choices with nothing but bad alternatives.

They believe in Baal, whose alternative names include Hermes, Mercury/god of merchants and thieves, and who took a more mechanical name as, “The Market.” They believe the invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government. This invisible hand is in reference to Adam Smith who wrote, “He is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

This speaking of leadership presupposes leading, which presupposes thought by something greater than oneself, a deity, Baal, Hermes, Mercury, the Market, idolatry. As Catholics, we believe in only one God. This market god allows for no other provider but itself, and our God allows for no other provider but the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the God who died on the cross for us. All the poor hear is the culture of death and this idolatry. They neither know nor care about what the people are protesting. All they see and hear is the culture of death. With this in mind, we ask:

Two thousand people died in New Orleans because the conservatives opposed infrastructure spending. The US currently spends 2% of GDP on infrastructure while China spends 10%. If you oppose government spending on infrastructure, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, of those who died in New Orleans, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to adequate roads and levies?”

45,000 lose their lives each year from a lack of affordable health care. If you oppose government involvement in healthcare, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to government protection?”

Around 50 million people live a living death of living in food-insecure households, including 17 million children. Of these individuals, 12.2 million adults lived in households with very low food security. If you oppose government efforts to end poverty, are you prepared to tell us who suffer the living death of poverty, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to a redress from your suffering?”

At the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” 146 people died. The Hamlet Chicken Processing Plant Fire, in 1991 in Hamlet North Carolina, saw locked doors, blocking workers escape. People died. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to redress?”

Two years ago, we had the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Faulty construction contributed to the disaster. The conservatives apologized to BP for the resulting increase in government regulation. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to redress?”

The conservative’s desire to under-regulate industry resulted in the Monongah Mine disaster. 362 men lost their lives. The Sago Mine disaster was a coalmine explosion in 2006. Twelve people died. The Jim Walter Resources Mine Disaster in Alabama was in, 2001. Thirteen miners died. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born? You are not entitled to redress?”

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We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 4


“We have laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities, to bring opportunity in the inner cities, to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure they can realize the value in one another.”

This is what a certain Wisconsin congressman told a reporter just before walking off the stage after the reporter confronted him about his tax cuts. This is what the reporter should have asked, “The US already has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prison population. We are enforcing the laws. “Are people in prison biologically inferior, or is there something wrong with our society.” Question two; “You said, “Churches should pick up the tab for training these people in “Good Discipline.” Which church do you have in mind?

Here are some figures: Charitable giving by denomination and income group:

Assemblies of God 5.5%
Baptist 4.6%
Low income population 4.5%
wealthy 3.0%
Presbyterian 2.6%
middle class 2.5%
Lutheran 2.4%
The Congressman’s denomination 1.9%

Does this congressman believe this refers to the Assemblies of God and the Baptists who live in the inner cities, or does this refer to all religious? If the former, they are already giving twice what his religious denomination gives. If the latter, there is the story of Legion. We must ask why a crazy person in Galilee would name himself Legion. The Hebrew and Aramaic for “Many” is, “Arbah.” In Greek, it is “Hoi Polloi.” The Latin word for a multitude is “Multitude.”

Legion only refers to the Roman Legions. As the story continues, Legion runs into a herd of pigs that then run down a creek bank and drown. Pigs are not kosher. St. Mark tells the story to remind us that to get rid of Legion/Big Government, we must first get rid of our pigs. The denomination of this congressman must cease giving the least, and start giving the most.

This congressman believes the responsible church is the inner city church, the church already giving the most. Those giving the least yell at those already giving the most to give more? Religious” people, those attending their houses of worship at least once per week are only 33% of the population. How is it fair to tax 33% of the population to pay for people who are not members of their congregations?

He tells the poor to find a way to set up your own society in the inner city, or die. This makes us not one nation but two, those in the suburbs, and those in the cities. He asks them to set up their own businesses, be their own employers, set up their own autonomous society distinct from America.

One last chart, this one showing how much has to be donated each Sunday Mass to make that 3% quota the rich pay as a percentage of their income. The poor pay 4.5% of their income to charity. If you pay less than the figure in the red on the chart, do not tell me the church should take over charitable giving. If we do not give at even the 3% level, how can we expect the poor to? If our parish has a hard time financially, how can we expect other communities to be otherwise?

The only difference between the liberals and the conservatives is not if, or who is going to die. It is the how, when and where of their dying. For the 4,000 preborn who die because of a lack of pre-natal care, the two groups are not even debating the when. Logic has a rule, nothing can be more important than itself. The choice between Social Justice and anti-abortion is a terrible choice, an immoral choice. This loss of life is a grave matter, willingly agreed to, and with full consent. The Eucharist from Luke 22 calls us to better.

St. Augustine discusses how a republic is about a community of interest. “Republic” calls us to help our neighbor in his pursuit of happiness. “Nation” is a fancy Latin for people born as one, by heritage if not by blood. The flag symbolizes this republic, its nation, and its government. When we say government does not have a role in promoting what it means to be a republic or a nation, we make that oath a vain oath. With God’s name in it, we take God’s name in vain.

In Mark 12:29 Jesus commands, “You will love God with all your hearts, with all of your animate being, with all of your measure.” “Hearts,” is plural. How do we love God? What do we give someone literally having everything? We love him by respecting his garden, by taking care of what he made in his image, each other.

“Hearts” is plural because it refers to the community. It does not command that we love God with all of our measure, except our government. We use everything at our disposal to promote life for everything made in God’s image, including government.

As Charles gives his material, I ask you to listen for any material different from what we heard during the last forty-four years. I ask you to listen; does he argue for a simple winner and loser in this debate, the same old talking points, or does he argue for real solutions? The truth is that neither side, conservative or liberal is serious.

Humanae Vitae came forty-four years ago. So long as we throw out the same talking points neither side addresses the real issues. Neither Liberals nor Conservatives deal with Social Justice or pro-life solutions. It is time to get back to our Catholic roots. While we engage in another forty-four years of talking points, God’s children are dying, and God is angry.

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We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 3


In our Pledge of Allegiance, we pledge to defend the republic. St. Augustine gives Catholics “Republic,” a definition. He defines it in terms of an orchestra, with concord and harmony. Professional singers have a way of cupping their hands as they sing, so they can hear the other singers.

If they fail at that, they do not blend their voices and the audience suffers. We must learn to listen to the other side, not to their proposed solution, but to their cry. We must ask, what energizes their cry and respond to that. Father Ron Olsen is famous for that gift. It is for the conductor to decide the tune.

Liberals oppose conservatives for their insensitivity to the background and feelings of others, the inability to listen. With the exception of the next few paragraphs, this presentation was in draft form in early September. It took its present form in October. I pointed out in my objections to a title with certain words, present in the current title in mid-September. It took the conservatives more time to come up for a title for this debate than for me to write my affirmative, concluding remarks, Power Point presentation, and handouts. Their result is second rate.

As I related, I lost a job because I was a Catholic and a Democrat in 2003. A referee at Employment Security stated, “Sponsoring and encouraging harassment in the workplace is a perfectly normal and legitimate business practice.” That was when Clarence Thomas became Supreme Court Justice. I received a poor evaluation for a time-period when I was on vacation and not even present at the facility in ’74. This and more makes this debate is necessary.

Because of where I work, one of the words, “Government,” in the title could cost my job. As you look at the debate title, “Government,” is present.” The title of this presentation was put together by conservatives and conservatives are a hardhearted folk and do not know any better. When top corporate executives behave the same way, people get hurt; people die, sometimes in the tens, the hundreds, and sometimes, the thousands.

Workers often face the same choices. They can choose to work in unnecessarily unsafe working conditions, or unemployment. If they choose the unsafe working conditions, it is their choice; employer and conservative make like Pilate and wash their hands. If they walk away, they are shiftless cowards, and lazy.

By using the word, “Control,” conservatives ask me to defend, “Government Control,” “Socialism.” Sorry Charles, I will not be defending socialism. I will be defending a mature approach that promotes life, saving lives by regulating this kind of behavior.

God is the conductor of our orchestra, not the government. Our founding fathers put together a work of genius, a mutual system of checks and balances. “Control is not in the purpose statement of our heritage. Promoting life is. The pursuit of happiness, with the implied, “Reasonable chance of success for all people,” is. Government is a common enterprise among men, a tool not fundamentally different from GM, the AFL-CIO, or the NAACP.

Government’s role is to be a tool, like many other tools for God and society, a part of an interdependent/mutual system of autonomous individuals we use to maintain the intricate balance we call harmony and concord. We agreed in late August that, “It’s the amount of “federal government intervention” that is the issue.” I prepared this presentation based upon this understanding.

There is no concord, no harmony when 45,000 lose their lives each year from a lack of affordable health care, when 8,000 are children in their first year of life, when we watch 2,000 people lose their lives in New Orleans because some do not want to invest in infrastructure, before or after these needlessly deaths.

There is no concord, no harmony when 50 million people live a living death in food-insecure households.  There is no concord, no harmony, when the US has 5% of the world population and 25% of those in prison. As St. Augustine, quoting Cicero, quoting Scipio, the man who defeated Carthage points out, when there is no concord, no harmony, no common interest of the people, there is no republic. The Pledge of Allegiance becomes a vain oath, with God’s name in it.

We can see that before 1981 the percentage of income going to the poorest 50% of the population was between 25% and 27% of all income. The percentage earned by the top 5% was steady at between 14% and 17. We notice that when conservatives were in control of the White House, the unemployment rate was higher, between 4% and 7%. During the times liberals ruled, the rate lowered to as low as 3%.

We also notice in the second chart, how something radically changed after 1981, and it is directly attributable to Kemp/Roth, and the changes to the tax code afterward. Unemployment shot up; many economists now say the unemployment rate we saw under Truman and in the late ‘60s is impossible. The US changed from being the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation.

We notice in the second chart how the poorest 50% of the population now only earn 19% of all income while the richest 5% now earn 21% of all income. As the conservative candidate for president related, for 47% of the people, the so-called Reagan economic boom never happened.

We do not need to look at this graph to note how the rich tend to buy different things than poor people. The rich tend to buy intangibles, stocks, bonds, insurance, and the like. A stock is much like a used car title. When we buy a used car, a GM, the money does not go to GM. In the case of a stock, all GM encumbers is the administrative cost of tracing the new stockholder. The person selling the stock is not GM, and does not use his money to create jobs. He uses his money to buy more intangibles. It creates no jobs.

The poor buy food, clothing, shelter, transportation, things made with human hands, things that create jobs. If we want to create harmony, jobs, we will create policies reversing the events of the past 32 years and put money into the hands of those who will create jobs.

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We define what separates Catholics from Protestants part 2


Our American foundation is, “”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. ” “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom transfiguring you and me. He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.”

Cardinal Ratzinger wrote of Pope Pious X: “The faith as such is always the same. The Catechism of Saint Pius X always preserves its value.” St. James wrote in James 1:17, “Through the Father of lights, there is no alteration or shadow caused by change… Pope Pious X, whose mural is behind our altar speaks loudly about the Call to Catholic action, including involvement in our government, and the call to Social Justice.

Psalm 72 and Psalm 82 show how God and King David had a far bigger role in mind for government. Psalm 72 begins, “לִשְׁלֹמֹה,” “To Solomon.” It ends, “The end of the psalms of David, son of Jesse.” David explains government’s role to Solomon.

“Judging God’s people with צֶדֶק/charity, his poor with judicial precedent, that he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor. He rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed with none to help. He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves their lives.

Psalm 82  has God talking with other gods, “Gods though you are, all offspring of the Highest, as any mortal you will die.” We are to view all the customs and correct judicial precedents as if they came from the lip of God himself. The gods of Psalm 82 are the princes relating the customs and judicial precedents. They stand in place of God. Psalm 82 chastises them for allowing the Russia, those thinking themselves first, to exploit the poor. Subsidiarity delegates the chicken coup to the foxes; I am one of the chickens.

The Confederacy had a phrase for subsidiarity, state’s rights. States Rights reflects itself today in the form of voter suppression we see in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the Deep South. Both sides want regulation and taxation, only for foreigners, and subsidiarity, only for themselves.

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We define what separates Catholics from Protestants


The collectors of the temple tax approached Peter asking, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes.” Jesus asked, “What is your opinion? From whom do the kings of the earth tax, from their subjects or from foreigners?” Peter replied, “From foreigners,” Jesus retorted, “The subjects are exempt.”

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Jesus told them, “The kings of the nations lord it over them… Among you, it shall not be. Allow the greatest among you be as the youngest, the leader as the servant. Who is greater, the one seated at table or the one who serves? It is not the one seated at table!”

Thomas Jefferson’s, “He who governs least governs best,” separates liberals from conservatives. The socialist thinks people are by nature bad, so government control is governing the least. The capitalist, the communist, and the anarchist believe people are good and need no government. To argue for less than necessary government is to argue for irresponsibility.

The phrase, “He who governs least governs best,” begs, “The least to do what?” What does governing least mean in practical terms? Without answering the “To do what,” government falls upon the foreigner, those foreign to us. For the rich, the poor need more government. For the poor, it is the rich.

We are not one nation, but two, one black, one white, one enslaved by wealth, one by poverty. To bring this nation back to being one nation we need to define the proper role of government as it relates to life and civil harmony.

Our Declaration of Independence states, “All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Conservatives and Liberals disagree on the definition of life, and the proper role of government, in particular as it relates to our American heritage.

One definition of life states life is blood. Anything with two cells has blood. This definition tells us when life begins. To understand when it ends we need more. We need to know how blood makes life. Dead people still have blood, but it does not flow, it is not vibrant. The Catechism states, “God made us in his image. C.C.C., section 1701.

Deuteronomy 30 relates, “This Mitzvah which I am giving you today is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart… Choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” This is one of the 613 Mitzvah of Jewish traditions. How is this Mitzvah? All life is life in potentiality. Either we increase life in all of its potentiality or we decrease it.” Life as potentiality, as lived in the image of God is the definition of life we will use in this debate.

Capitalists believe corporate CEOs, and business owners are by nature good and do not need regulation. Wisconsin has a Congressman who voted, twice, to prevent stockholders from setting top executives’ salaries. This congressman’s party shows by their actions, they believe some men do not need checks and balances, upon their actions.

Catholics believe the writings of John Locke who noted that no man is a fair judge in his own case. That includes the corporate CEO, and our political leaders. St. Augustine, the man in the mural relates, we are all imperfect human beings, born with original sin. People are neither good nor bad; we are a mix of both. Our C.C.C. Section 1882 tells us Catholics believe man is a social animal. Catholics did not used to believe in the Protestant Work ethic or rugged individualism.

The Eucharist is building upon the source, the rock, which is how Jesus finishes the Sermon on the Mount. Conservatives build upon the bottom 50% of the population earning only 19% of all income, the sand. We saw the result with the so-called Reagan economic boom. When the earthquake hit, the sand went into liquefaction and great was the fall of that house.

Solidarity must have a foundation. Cardinal Ratzinger tells us in, “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” “The Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one… Christians can learn from a Jewish exegesis practiced for more than 2000 years.”

In Mark 10, our Gospel reading for just a few weeks ago, Jesus quotes the last six of the Ten Commandments, as he understood them. He combines St. Augustine’s last two. Jesus’ first Mitzvah comes from Deuteronomy 5:1-7, the call to Eucharist. God tells us, as a community, “The Personal Name cut this Social Contract with us, each of us, alive, here, this day… I am God your Almighty Judge who rescued you from the land of Oppression, the house of menial labor” You will remember what it was like to be there, and you will remember your rescue.

Catholics believe in the Physical Presence in the Eucharist, rescuing us, as a community, for the first time, each time, we celebrate the Mass. Deuteronomy 5 begins as an address to the community. God rescues those who struggle with God, as a community. He calls us to love him, as a community. Our heritage means remembering our oppression, in 19th century Europe, as community, and our working in the sweatshops of the early 20th century, as a community.

A Wisconsin congressman left the stage after being asked about tax cuts


We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value in one another.”

This is what a certain Wisconsin congressman told a reporter just before walking off the stage after being confronted about his tax cuts. This is what the reporter should have asked, “The US already has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prison population. We are enforcing the laws. Question number one, are these people in prison biologically inferior, or is there something wrong with our society. Question two, this congressman stated churches should pick up the tab for training these people in “Good Discipline.” Which church does he have in mind? Here are some figures:

Charitable giving by denomination and income group:

Assemblies of God 5.5%
Baptist 4.6%
Low income population 4.5%
wealthy 3.0%
Presbyterian 2.6%
middle class 2.5%
Lutheran 2.4%
Catholic 1.9%

Does this congressman believe this refers to the Assemblies of God and the Baptists who live in the inner cities, or does this refer to all of us religious? If the former, they are already giving twice what his religious denomination gives. If the latter, there is the story of Legion. We must ask why a crazy person in Galilee would name himself Legion. The Hebrew and Aramaic for “Many” is, “Arbah.” In Greek, it is “Hoi Polloi.”

The Latin word for a multitude is “Multitude.” Legion only refers to the Roman Legions. As the story continues, Legion runs into a herd of pigs that then run down a creek bank and drown. Pigs are not kosher. St. Mark tells the story to remind us that to get rid of Legion, we must first get rid of our pigs. The denomination of this congressman must cease giving the least, and start giving the most.

This congressman believes the responsible church is the inner city church, the church already giving the most. Those giving the least yell at those already giving the most to give more? Religious” people, those attending their houses of worship at least once per week are only 33% of the population. How is it fair to tax 33% of the population to pay for people who are not members of their congregations, or is this congressman saying people should be forced to go to church so we can tax them?

The above chart does reflect that about a third of charitable giving to religious denominations goes to “Sacraments,” church administration, what the members donate to themselves as the upkeep of their meeting place.

His church is obligated in his mind to give nothing. He is telling the poor to find a way to set up your own society in the inner city, or die. This makes us not one nation but two, those in the suburbs, and those in the cities. He presumably is asking them to set up their own businesses and be their own employers. This congressman’s community is obliged to buy none of what they produce. “We are getting ours; if you are not, die,” is what he seems to be saying. He then goes on to say, “By the way, we are pro-life.” My last question, “Why do those in the inner city not take our pro-life claim seriously?

You’re entitled to your own house, but not to your own facts


Who, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. He will put him in charge of all his property. If that Russia (He who puts himself first) servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day at and will punish him severely. He will assign him a place with the actors, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

During the presidential debate of the past evening, the conservative candidate made two comments, “Mr. President, Mr. President, you’re entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts. All right, I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding.” He had said earlier in the debate, “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.”

Big Bird and Sesame Street are education programs. He is cutting education and then he calls the president out for having his own facts, which includes his cutting of spending for education. In the Presidential Debate the liberal could have mentioned these figures as related by the Department of the Census:

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As we can see from looking at the enclosed chart, every time the conservatives have been in power, unemployment has been higher then when liberals have been in power. Before 1980, the percentage of income the poorest 50% of the population received remained constant between 24% and 27%. After 1980 that changed. It has dropped every year since, and is now a very low 19%. Since 1981, forty-two years, the liberals have had control of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue a grand total of four years.

During the remainder of the time, conservatives have used obstruction and the President’s bully pulpit to dictate economic policy. The result has been the drop in the percentage the poorest 50% of the population received, from 27%, to the present 19%. The result has been these figures:

Two thousand people died in New Orleans because the conservatives opposed infrastructure spending. The US currently spends 2% of GDP on infrastructure while China spends 10%. If you oppose government spending on infrastructure, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born. We are not entitled to adequate roads and levies?”

45,000 lives lost each year from a lack of affordable health care. If you oppose government involvement in healthcare, are you prepared to tell the bereaved relatives, “Sorry, your loved one had the bad fortune of being born. We are not entitled to government protection?”

5% of U.S. patients account for 50% of health care costs according to Zakaria from CNN. He also relates how poverty contributes to that disparity. If you oppose government involvement in healthcare, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to reasonable access to healthcare?”

Around 50 million people live the living death of living in food-insecure households, including 17 million children. Of these individuals, 12.2 million adults and 5.4 million children lived in households with very low food security. If you oppose government efforts to end poverty, are you prepared to tell us who suffer the living death of poverty, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to a redress from your suffering?”

At the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” 146 people died. The Hamlet Chicken Processing Plant Fire, September 3, 1991 in Hamlet North Carolina, saw locked doors, blocking workers escape. People died. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to redress?”

Two years ago, we had the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Faulty construction contributed to the disaster. The conservatives apologized to BP for the resulting increase in government regulation. If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to redress?”

The conservative’s desire to not adequately regulate industry also resulted in the Monongah Mine disaster. 362 men lost their lives in the underground explosion. The Sago Mine disaster was a coalmine explosion on January 2, 2006. Twelve people died. The Jim Walter Resources Mine Disaster in Alabama was on September 23, 2001. Thirteen miners died.

If you oppose government efforts to end this problem, are you prepared to tell us, “Sorry, you had the bad fortune of being born. You are not entitled to redress?” Our Declaration of Independence gives the purpose for government.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

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As Catholics, we believe that life is more than bare subsistence. Life is life lived in the image and likeness of God. How we treat our neighbor, is how we treat God, who is in our neighbor. Matthew 25:31-26:1 is the Address to the Nations. Matthew 26:1 begins Jesus’ Passion. As we do to the least of our neighbors we participate in Jesus’ Passion. For God and his son, this is very personal. We fail to act at our own peril. In the Presidential debate, the liberal could have mentioned this, as well.

This Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time we search for the meaning of “Sin.”


Father Joseph Kim began his homily for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time with a discussion of what “Sin,” means. He pointed to recent studies showing how our society does not know the meaning of the word. Young people at confession complain how they should not have to go to confession because they do not have anything to confess.

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One definition of sin comes from, All Saints Greek Orthodox Church. It means, “Missing the mark,’ an archery term. If you hit the target dead center you ‘hit the mark.’ If you hit the first ring that was one ‘amartia,’ two rings, two ‘amarties.’ Sin can be considered the lack of perfection. No one is perfect; everyone is guilty of ‘amartia.”

As Father Joseph Kim discussed “Sin,” the movie “Men in Black,” came to mind. In the film a police officer Edwards takes a marksmanship test complete with strange monsters and innocent looking people, who agent Edwards recognizes as the real targets.

He passes the test and is admitted into the special police program.Other officers confuse the monsters for the targets and fail the test. It is possible to hit all the targets, dead on, and fail the test, hitting the wrong targets.

After Mass, a fellow parishioner hit this target as she related how her employer was hitting his budgetary goals by reducing most of his staff to part time, saving on both employee costs and eliminating benefits, eliminating those costs. He hit his bulls’ eyes, causing senior people to look for work elsewhere. He will probably run his company out of business. He hit the wrong targets.

In Jewish tradition, Torah has three parts, Haggadah, or story, Hallacha, or the walk, and Midrash, or interpretation. Deuteronomy relates the walk, “The Personal Name will make you the head not the tail, the top not the bottom, if you listen to the Mitzvah of the Personal Name, your Mighty Judge. This is the Mitzvah I give you today, guarding carefully not to turn aside, either to the right or to the left, from any of the words, which I give you today.”

In our lives, we all walk to the Promised Land as we walk through life from conception to the grave. Either we are on the right road, or we are on the wrong road. Deuteronomy tells us how it does matter if we are to the right of the main road, or to the left. Either we are on the right road, or we are not. The other two roads take us to the wrong places.

Another story is the story of the young man who looked at the Ten Commandments and related, “I do not believe in gods, so do not believe in false ones. Because I do not believe in gods, I take the name of no gods in vain. I do not work on weekends. Because I am lazy, I do not work on Sabbath.

I honor father and mother; they did great things for me in my life. I did not kill anybody. I am celibate. I do not steal. I have never seen the inside of a courtroom, so never bear false witness, and I do not desire what belongs to my neighbor. If God exists, I go to heaven.

This young man has not violated any commandments, but he is on the wrong road. He is much like the rich young man of Mark 10:17. He does not feel any oppression, so receives no rescue. He never makes the inconvenient march to the Promised Land and never receives eternal life.

St. Luke related of St. Peter in Luke 5:1-11. When we experience perfection, “Shalom,” or “Peace,” we experience just how imperfect we really are. Like St. Peter we say, “Depart from me, Kyrie, for I am a deviant.” Unlike the rich young man, we force ourselves to look at the Ten Commandments again.

We realize it begins, “I am the Personal Name your Almighty Judge who rescued you.” We remember our rescue, through our parents, from the poverty of 19th century Europe, and the sweatshops of twentieth century America. We remember what it was like to be a slave in the Deep South, and what it means to suffer racial bigotry. Then we do something. We realize how lack of action is missing the mark, failing, “Amartia.”

Father Joe Kim related the story of the marksman at the Olympics. If he misses practice one day, he notices the difference in his skill. If he misses a week, his wife notices the difference. If he continues to miss practice, he will miss his trip to the Olympics. He will become angry and blame God. Then he will go into rebellion.

After years of anger, frustration, and disappointment, he will realize, if only he had practiced, he could have gone to the Olympics. Hebrew has over twenty-two words for “Sin,” and they move along the continuum of simple error, to rebellion, to violence, to penance. No matter how far removed we are from the road to the Promised Land, no matter how intentional our failure might be, it is all simple error, because if we had known God loves us, we would not have missed our practice and suffered the results.