Sacred Heart

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Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Homily
Fr. Paul Ward

Saturday, November 15, 2014
33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
 

The Opposite Positions on Women, that of the Church and that of the World

 

   “When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls,” we read in today’s Proverbs (31:10), and such a woman deserves praise not because of her “charm” or exterior “beauty,” for that can “deceive” and “go away” (cf. v. 30). King Solomon portrays these words as those not of a man but of a woman, who is giving counsel to her son.

   We are in the final chapter of Proverbs, which, in Hebrew, forms an acrostic poem, acrostic meaning that each verse of the chapter starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This poem is dead on right in its literal meaning, but can be further interpreted symbolically as in reference to the bride of Christ. Perhaps on another day we can explore all these symbolic references, and so be inspired to live as better members of the Church. But today I wish to focus on the Church’s position on the dignity of women, and from there, the dignity of every human being.

   Let us begin, however, with context and one note about parish life. Next Sunday, at the 10am Mass, at the end of Mass, some girls of our parish who belong to the American Heritage Girls, a faith-based program in the Girl Scouts genre, will be presented with an award. Also, that will be the last Sunday of a week of Ordinary Time, or Christ the King Sunday, followed by Advent, which begins on Nov. 30, when the Knights of Columbus, with their regalia, will have their corporate communion, again at the 10am Mass. May all these things lift our hearts and serve as an opportunity for many graces.

   Now we turn to our topic. My first point is that the world is absolutely destructive of the dignity of women, a tendency the Catholic Church has battled since the day Christ founded her. I always marvel how the modern secularist is eager to accuse the Church of misogyny, then pat himself on the back for upholding “women’s liberation,” when the opposite is true. The abuse of women in ancient times might make an interesting study, but her abuse in the modern age is of more interest to us here today, now, because these are the times in which we live. How does the modern world see women? Simply put, as a product to be used and thrown out when one is done with her, and it is the Church who condemns the world here, while the world hypocritically condemns the Church.

   How can I demonstrate that the modern world treats women like impersonal instruments of use? Ah, let me count the ways! All you have to do is look at the magazine racks at the checkouts at most stores: there you have it, a piece of meat to catch your eye and make you buy the magazine. They denigrate women, dressing them immodestly for photos and videos, to sell you cars, toothpaste, clothes, hamburgers, milk, movies, furniture, alcoholic beverages, and all things sports, just to name some examples. In all these cases, women are objectified, not personified. They are used, not honored. They are manipulated, not defended. Then there are the more brutal, yet extremely prevalent forms, of objectification of women. Have you ever driven down 8 Mile or I-75 towards Toledo, and noticed all the billboards advertising “gentlemen’s clubs”? Gentlemen my toenail, these are places where women are abused institutionally!

   Pornography is abuse of women. Contraception is abuse of women. Abortion is abuse of women. Prostitution is abuse of women. Physical violence upon them is abuse of women. Every attack on the family, including sodomite marriage, ends up serving the abuse of women. For a man to divorce his wife and take another – I speak not of the cases where there has been an annulment – is abuse of women. These and other forms of abuse have created skyrocketing numbers of women subject to things like depression, anorexia, bulimia, depression, and many other forms of emotional distress which often come with grave physical symptoms. This is the position of the world: do not love a woman, only lust after her; use her, and when you are done, throw her in the trash.

   Then here comes the Catholic Church. In our scriptures we have passages like Prov. 31, which Pope Blessed JPII comments in his encyclical on the dignity of women Mulieris dignitatem. St. Paul in many places speaks of the virtuous life to which women are called, the chastity of marriage, the obligation of fidelity of the spouses, and the ideal of family life. Christ spoke with women in public, shocking to the Jewish sensitivity, such as the Samaritan woman; and he had women who were friends such as Mary and Martha, women he had saved such as Mary Magdalene, and women who were his followers. And the Church put an end to harems, obliging men to love their wives and honor them, as wives to honor their husbands. And the Church canonized over so many centuries countless thousands of women, recognizing that the greatest of all the saints in heaven, above all the rest and with authority over even the angels, is a woman, and I mean Mary the Mother of God. At the marriage Mass, in the nuptial blessing, while recognizing that the man is the head of the family, the Church reminds the man to see his wife as one who is his “equal.” The glorious calling of religious life is established both for men and women, and some religious orders dedicated themselves specifically to educate girls. The list could go on and on how both in principle and in practice the Church has defended women in their dignity against this form of objectification which the world, inspired by demons, endlessly tries to shove down our throats. For to a woman is entrusted every person from the moment God creates him; women have a powerful influence to curb the brutality of men and lead them down paths of mercy and love; they are a source of light and love of life wherever they are at all times in their lives. Their beauty – every woman is beautiful – is only a reflection of the beauty with which Christ has created his Bride, the Church, of which she is a paradigm and model both in body and soul.

   Let us not forget, however, two things. First, that women are broken as men are, broken by original sin; and that their incredible capacity of love can become incomprehensible capacity of hatred. They have their own ways, less common we must recognize, to abuse men. And they, too, are in need of conversion. Secondly, that the Church defends the dignity of women, but doesn’t stop there. The Church defends the dignity of men and of women, of children and of adults, of the elderly and of the unborn, of the sick and of the healthy, of the poor and of the rich. Every person is made in the image of God, and God desires that all men be saved, male or female, of every race, time and place.

   I wish to point out how especially damaging abortion is to women. How often girls have fled to abortion clinics in shame and fear because they were the object of abuse, even by a male member of her own family. Indeed, it has become very public how Planned Parenthood covers this up, eager to perpetrate more abortions, doing nothing to help protect that girl in her situation of abuse – even a crime in America, to which the Powers That Be turn a blind eye simply because it is PP. Let me add: how many women are murdered by abortions? I am not referring to abortionists who kill the mothers, though that happens and is worthy of the greatest condemnation. I’m referring to the babies killed in abortion. Wouldn’t it be something if the N.O.W. woke up and fought abortion unconditionally, even if only for this one reason, of how many little women are killed by it? Abortion is the great issue of our times, at the heart of just about every other issue; abortion isn’t just one issue, it is all the issues.

   May that woman, who is the standard, model and queen for every women, obtain graces from heaven, that women may be holy and chaste, valiant protectors of life, and receive the love, protection and honor due to them by every man, following Jesus Christ who gave his life to save the Church.


 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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