Today’s first reading is from the book of Exodus, it is a beautiful description of teamwork. Amalek represents the culture of death of our time that keeps surfacing against the mystical Body of Christ in the form of abortions, contraceptive mentalities, death penalty, unjustified wars, and attempts to legalize euthanasia among other offenses to human dignity. The advancement of the culture of death in our society is the spiritual cancer of the mystical Body of Christ that weakens it, but that does not destroy it. When we analyze the multiple kinds of threats against human life and dignity, we are discouraged to continue fighting. Amalek has always been present in the history of humanity attempting to disfigure the Imago Dei imprinted in every person.
The culture of death lacks respect for human life and failing to respect the sacredness of life is the same as idolatry. In a homily by Pope Francis, following the precepts of the Church, he said that “all too often as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the Gospel of Life, but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, since they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power, and pleasure and not by love. As a result, the living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new kinds of slavery and death.” Pope Francis’ teaching on respect for life is a continuation of the teachings of Pope John Paul II in the context of human reason, which shows that abortion claims more human lives than anything else, and the context of all the teaching documents of the Church, which teach that our more fundamental right, and the condition for all the others, is life itself.
Fortunately, the Church has always been working as a team to protect life from beginning to natural end. In the Church, we work as a team in the way that Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Hur and the soldiers fought with Amalek. In our modern-day civilization there is still brave Joshua who leads the armies of pro-life movements that stand in front of abortion clinics using the Rosary as their only weapon. These good willed people stand in front of the enemy who sometimes insults them, throw stones at them or ridicules them for their convictions and actions, but they do not stand out of the battle because of their faith. The pro-life movement cannot fight alone; they need the Moses that prays lifting his arms toward heaven. An important role of the team is the people who pray, fast and do penance for the sake of those who are on the battlefield. Thank God we have those people who attend daily Mass, those nuns unknown to society who pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament day in and day out. These contemplative members of the Body of Christ are the ones who sustain the soldiers fighting in the battlefield.
Moses grew tired of having his arms raised and when he lowered his arms, the people of God were losing the war. Aaron and Hur were helping him to keep them up and when Moses raised his arms again, the Israelites had the better part of the fight. Working as team they were able to defeat Amalek. We can learn from this story that the war against the culture of death has to be fought as a team. The whole mystical Body of Christ has to fight in communion to defeat the spiritual cancer that is deteriorating its strength. The battle was not easy, but at the end, the Israelites defeated Amalek. Everybody did their part: Joshua led, the soldiers fought, Moses prayed, Aaron and Hur endure the weight of Moses’ arms on their shoulders and God was glorified with the victory. In our battle against the spiritual cancer that is affecting our society, the mystical Body of Christ, everyone is important: the organizer that leads, the people in the battlefield who defend life with passion, the people who pray for peace, for an end to abortion and for an end to the death penalty.
Every spiritual battle we undertake has to be founded in prayer. Todays’ gospel tells us why we always need to pray without becoming weary. Let us all join the army and fight against the culture of death. The mystical Body of Christ is on a continual fight against the spiritual cancer and it needs you. Whether you pray unceasingly for those who are in the battlefield or you prepare yourself academically to fight the ideological philosophies that confuse people, you are taking part of the mystical Body of Christ, called Church. You are not alone in the battle, there is a white army praying for you. If you get tired, ask for help, but never decline or step out. Fighting as a team, we will win the war against the culture of death and God’s name will be glorified with a culture of life because the Glory of God is humanity fully alive (Gloria Dei Homo Vivens).
To Download a PDF Version of this Homily, Click Here: 29th Sunday OT Year C
Father Jorge Gomez is the Chancellor of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Father Jorge has attended many courses at the Theology of the Body Institute and has attended the TOB & Priestly Identity and TOB & Priestly Prayer retreats at the Theology of the Body Institute.