Columnists Life will be victorious

Column: Jesus taught us how to change the world — with love


by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

The devil never sleeps! This is a phrase I find myself saying quite frequently.

The devil’s insomnia came to mind again when I heard reports about the resignation of Brendan Eich from the position of CEO for the Silicon Valley high-tech firm Mozilla, which makes the Firefox browser. In the spirit of transparency, I must acknowledge that before last week I had never heard of Mozilla or Firefox.

It was the reason that Brendan Eich was forced to resign that caught my attention and concerned me. Brendan Eich’s unforgivable sin was that he had made a $1,000 donation eight years ago in support of a California ballot initiative that upheld the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman. A majority of California voters supported this effort to prevent the redefinition of marriage by gay activists. More than 37 states continue to protect marriage from redefinition.

Yet, as I write, the imperial courts of our nation are negating laws that protect marriage and prevent its redefinition, even though these laws were passed by a majority of voters or their elected representatives. Brendan Eich’s crime, requiring his resignation, was that he believed marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman. For this, Brendan Eich was compared to being a racist, an anti-Semite, and/or a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

This reminded me of the uproar earlier this year when the Kansas House of Representatives, anticipating the courts overturning the Kansas constitutional protection of marriage, passed legislation attempting to save small businesses (e.g., florists, bakers, photographers, etc.) from being coerced to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. If you think these fears for small businesses are imaginary, I encourage you to Google “The Barronelle Stutzman Story” which details what happened to a florist in the state of Washington.

The supporters of this bill were falsely accused of wanting to discriminate broadly against homosexuals. The opponents of the bill distorted what the legislation actually said and then, based on the distortion, labeled the proponents bigots and haters.

It was not too long ago that proponents of the legalization of so-called “same-sex marriage” claimed that this change in public policy would not affect anyone else. It seems they have forgotten this talking point. If you do not actively support gay marriage, then you will be targeted politically or, even worse, economically. Gay activists seek to punish politicians, and now business leaders, who show even the mildest support for the traditional understanding of marriage. It is simply amazing that believing that marriage is between one man and one woman for their good and the good of any children born from their union has become so controversial as to jeopardize one’s employment.

Those promoting the redefinition of marriage and family life have been preparing the culture for decades through sympathetic messages communicated through the entertainment industry. Believing they have conquered the culture, these same activists seek to destroy anyone who objects to or even questions the redefinition of marriage.

It is easy to become discouraged with the downward trends in our culture. Of course, it is not just about same-sex marriage, but the alarming rate of cohabitation, of children growing up in homes without a father, and the general trivialization of sexual intimacy. The roots of all of this can be traced to the sexual revolution that was made possible by the widespread acceptance of the contraceptive pill.

If you want to see an interesting secular treatment of the consequences of these cultural shifts, Google a 10-minute video, entitled “The Economics of Sex,” produced by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. It makes the case that the real victims of the sexual revolution were women.

In the midst of these cultural concerns and personal problems we all face, Holy Week invites us to ponder the central events that gave us life in Jesus Christ. Despite our sin, God never gave up on human beings. Rather, God chose to enter into our human condition.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus gave his apostles one of his most important and powerful teachings as he washed their feet.

Our Lord made clear that his method of transforming and changing the world was not by theological argument, physical force or the exercise of political power, but with love.

Jesus chose to take upon himself the consequences of our sin. From the cross, Jesus did not lash out at those responsible for his crucifixion, which in reality was all of us; rather, he interceded on our behalf, asking, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” Whatever problems we have today pale in comparison to the injustice perpetrated on Calvary.

St. Peter gives a beautiful description of Our Lord’s love that changed the world forever:

“Christ suffered for you, and left you an example to have you follow in his footsteps.

“He did no wrong; no deceit was found in his mouth. When he was insulted, he returned no insult.

“When he was made to suffer, he did not counter with threats. Instead, he delivered himself up to the One who judges justly.

“In his own body he brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will.

“By his wounds you were healed” (1 Pt 2: 21-24).

Good Friday, of course, was not the end of the story. Our Lord’s resurrection vanquished death forever. With the defeat of both sin and death, Jesus gave his disciples a hope that cannot be extinguished by the forces of darkness.

In truth, it is Our Lord who never sleeps. For this reason, we never have to fear or be without hope. Though at any given moment it may appear the forces of death and darkness are winning, in truth, we know the victory of light and life is certain. Life will be victorious!

Following up last week’s column and if you are finding it difficult to believe in miracles, my 91-year-old mother won our family NCAA pool. Congratulations, Mom!

About the author

Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Joseph F. Naumann is the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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