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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Stumbling Blocks Part 7 (Holy Warriors Part 52)

Today’s readings:

Amos 2:6-16

Psalm 50:16-23

Matthew 8:18-22

Holy warriors have one great enemy, and that is the evil one. Warriors in general have another great enemy—themselves. That is, not being as holy as they need to be, in order to defeat the great enemy. This is what is happening in much of our Church today. The effect is disastrous. “The warrior shall not save his life, …. And the most stouthearted of warriors shall flee naked on that day—oracle of the Lord.” (Am 2:14a-16). Naked, stripped of his armor and equipment, he flees in defeat.

How do warriors fail in holiness?

* Social injustice. “Because they hand over the just for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; they trample the heads of the destitute into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way.” (Am 2:6b-7a). We must look to the well-being of the poor. We must fight for social justice in whatever way we can. This is why for CFC-FFL and for our Church (through LCSC), the work of NONe is essential.

* Impurity with misuse of power. “Son and father sleep with the same girl” (Am 2:7b). We must be pure and chaste. Servant leaders, who have authority and power, must never take unfair advantage over those under them. They must not be oppressive. Leaders are servants.

* Religiosity without concern for the needy. “Upon garments taken in pledge they recline beside any altar.” (Am 2:8a). Mosaic law commanded that creditors return garments given as pledges by the poor before nightfall. Too many Catholics go through the motions of faith, while doing injustice to the poor. Consider how some consistent Church-goers or even benefactors might treat their servants unfairly and even badly.

* Lavish personal spending of God’s money and resources. “Wine at treasury expense they drink in their temples.” (Am 2:8b). Everything belongs to God, including our money and resources. While God only asks 10% (tithe) for His work, we are still looked upon as stewards for responsible spending of His money, and not just on our desires or even lavishness.

* Suppression of gifts. “But you made the nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy!’” (Am 2:12). Many Church leaders impose their theological opinions on the faithful, like criticizing baptism in the Spirit and speaking in tongues. This is a great disservice, as such criticism prevent gifts from being lived out, especially in the call to New Evangelization.

* Paying lip service to our covenant. “But to the wicked God says: ‘Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your mouth? You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!’” (Ps 50:16-17). Our covenant is a solemn commitment that should be taken very seriously and consistently lived out. It includes full support for our work, including finances.

* Conforming to the culture of the world. “If you see a thief, you run with him; with adulterers you throw in your lot.” (Ps 50:18). Many Catholics have succumbed to the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. They are indistinguishable from the secular society around them. To be holy is to be set apart.

* Sinful speech. “You give your mouth free rein for evil; you yoke your tongue to deceit.” (Ps 50:19). Many Catholics lie, tell half-truths, spread gossip and disinformation, and lead others, especially subordinates, astray. This might be due to envy, or a desire for power. It leads to conflicts, disunity and a lack of peace in the body.

* Calumny. “You sit and speak against your brother, slandering your mother’s son.” (Ps 50:20). Many leaders malign and speak against other leaders, who are their brothers and co-workers. They promote discontent and cause factions in the body. To speak against, especially to peers and subordinates who have no authority over the person being maligned, is a great sin.

God calls all His people to engage the enemy. But God looks to properly equipped soldiers, wearing the armor of God and wielding weapons of righteousness. God does not tolerate sin, especially among those He uses to do His work. “When you do these things should I be silent? Do you think that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay out the matter before your eyes.” (Ps 50:21).

There is more. Holy warriors must be totally committed to God and to the cause. They follow in the footsteps and lifestyle of Jesus, the Commander-in-Chief. They give their all.

* No looking to comfort, convenience or personal well-being. “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (Mt 8:20). We go where Jesus sends us, not where we personally want to go. In going, we know there will be hardships and trials. These we face with trust and hope in God.

* God as priority, even before family and family obligations. “Another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, let me go first and bury my father.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.’” (Mt 8:21-22). This is not to say that we neglect family or other obligations. But over and beyond all these good things, there is God and His work.

You can see that the call to holiness is of the highest ideals. It is not just being a good person, though that is a good start. To engage a powerful enemy in this mega-war, we must be holy.

If holy warriors do look to God, then they are assured of His victory, even against great odds and against a great enemy. “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them, who were as tall as cedars, and as strong as oak trees.” (Am 2:9a). God assures His holy warriors, “I will let him whose way is steadfast look upon the salvation of God.” (Ps 50:23b).

Onward, holy warriors! Ho-wa!

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