Homily for Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 28, 2015
I am originally from Frederick, Maryland, which is kind of an obscure town in the foothills of the mountains in Maryland. But there were a few famous people from Frederick. For example, Francis Scott Key was from there, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner. So was Patsy Cline, the famous country singer. But perhaps one of the most notable Frederick natives was the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney.
Justice Taney was famous –or infamous – judge who handed down the famous Dred Scott decision. The Dred Scott decision in 1857 declared that black people had no ability to become citizens, or even to have basic equality and rights. The Supreme Court redefined human dignity, based upon being born in the right race. This terrible decision led to hundreds of years of suffering for the African-American community, much of which is still being felt today.
So people from Frederick are not particularly proud of Justice Taney. With hindsight, we can see the devastating effects of his decision.
Fast-forward a hundred and twenty years. The Supreme Court is called upon to decide another case, one which will define personhood. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in the Roe vs. Wade case that human beings were not persons with basic human rights until they were outside of the womb. Another terrible redefinition of personhood – and this time, the result was over 50 million babies killed by abortion in the 42 years since the decision.
This past Friday, the Supreme Court once again attempted to redefine something fundamental in our society. The Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states, redefining the very definition of marriage from “a union of man and woman ordered to building a family” to “a commitment of two people who are attracted to one another”. This redefinition disagrees with God’s own definition of marriage. Such a redefinition will have long-lasting consequences.
There are many reasons why homosexual marriage is an impossibility. First, let’s consider who created and defined marriage. Is marriage an invention of man, or of God? Of course, it was God, who wrote within the human heart – and body - the desire for union with a member of the opposite sex. So if God has already defined what marriage is, then who are we to redefine it?
Second, let us consider the purposes of marriage. Marriage was created by God so that a husband and wife could enjoy companionship, so they can help each other get to Heaven, and so that they could bring children into the world, new souls to love God and reach Heaven. Gay marriage cannot do any of these three things. They cannot truly enjoy real companionship, because any companionship that is not based upon a mutual seeking of virtue is only a false substitute – just a quick cure for loneliness, instead of deep love. They cannot help each other get to Heaven, because homosexual actions are gravely sinful, and they would be a constant source of temptation for one another. And, of course, they cannot be open to children. Even gay adoption is immoral because it deprives a child of his or her natural right to have two parents of opposite genders – and besides, it would be a grave scandal to teach a child that this type of relationship is natural.
Please do not misunderstand me – we love and respect everyone, including our gay brothers and sisters. Everyone is welcome in this church, regardless of sexual orientation, and we condemn any hatred or violence or discrimination against those who struggle with same-sex attraction. But it is not discrimination, it is not bigotry, to insist that marriage was created by God with a specific definition and a specific purpose.
My friends, if someone were building a house with bricks and they started to replace some of the bricks with Styrofoam blocks instead, could the house stand tall? It would be weakened. If too many bricks were replaced, the house would collapse. In the same way, the building block of society is the family. If we start redefining the family, weakening it, changing the very nature of it, then we risk weakening society as a whole. The impact is felt by everyone.
My friends, when the Supreme Court attempted to redefine personhood, millions upon millions of people suffered as a result. Now that the Supreme Court has attempted to redefine marriage, the consequences will also be dark, and long lasting. Pray very hard that this country may regain our respect for God, Who created marriage as a beautiful and holy vocation!