Sunday, July 12, 2009


First Reading: Ex 1:8-14, 22
Psalm: Ps 124:1b-8 -- Our help is in the name of the Lord
Gospel: Mt 10:34-11:1

[Pharaoh] said to his subjects, "Look how numerous and powerful the Israelite people are growing, more so than we ourselves!
Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects, "Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews, but you may let all the girls live." - Exodus 1:9,22

In today's reading, Pharaoh sees a situation arising and is eager to head it off. He is fearful of the things that could happen, should the children of Israel outnumber the Egyptians. Thus, without provocation, he forces them into service to discourage their increase. When that fails, he orders the execution of all of the males of the Hebrews.

In our own time, we sometimes seek to cut off a problem before it reaches a hypothetical place where it becomes dangerous. In individual life, people believe that another child will cause them too much stress or take more effort than they can spare. In societal circles, eugenicists claim that it is best to terminate the more sickly or "useless" members, so that those who are well do not have to waste resources on them. On a global scale, experts claim that humans will destroy the earth if they continue to increase.

The main difficulty with these lines of thinking is that, once the terrible, hypothetical situation is believed, then some means, any means, must be used to prevent that outcome. Some people must be seen as less than human. Some people must be restricted because, "it is the only way." Once this mindset is adopted, those who supported it will inevitably fall into a category that must be restricted. A terribly high price is paid attempting to avoid an imagined horror.

As Christians, we know that each life is a gift from God. We know that the power to bestow life is not given to us, therefore we should exercise great restraint whenever we are tempted to take it. Satan is always waiting to prey upon our fears. He attempts to confuse us, speaking of far-off, cataclysmic consequences, then whispering that it would be compassionate, even merciful, to do that which is most horrible. We must remember that, no matter what the perceived danger, we need to put our trust in the Lord.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of this day. Thank you for giving us the gift of life each and every day. Lord, please watch over those who are in positions of power, that they not be swayed by fear, but led by prudence and buffeted with courage. Grant that we also might speak boldly to protect the gift of life for our brothers and sisters. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

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