Jer 38:4-6, 8-10
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We are destined, in this life, to be divided from at least some people, and today’s readings urge us to be divided for the right reasons. Prejudice continues to raise walls between people. That is the division that happens all too naturally, and the conflict between the culture of life and the culture of death is largely a problem of prejudice against the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled. None of the reasons offered for abortion would be tolerated as reasons to kill the born; it is only because the victims are unborn that they become victims. Similarly, none of the reasons for killing the less functional people would be tolerated as reasons to kill the functioning; hence again, prejudice is revealed as the real problem.
When we stand against that prejudice, however, we get treated like Jeremiah. He was accused of “demoralizing the soldiers” because he was saying that the Babylonians, who were about to attack Jerusalem, could not be stopped because they were being used by God to punish his people. The problem was not military or political, Jeremiah said, but rather moral. In our day, when we point out the moral problems that stand at the foundation of so many other societal ills, we too will be rejected and mocked.
Moreover, issues like abortion will divide family members, as the Gospel promises, and will require us to resist sin even “to the point of shedding blood,” as the second reading says. The blood to be shed, in other words, is our own, as we stand against the opposition that others will launch against us. The fact that so many people will say, “The opposition against me isn’t that bad and I don’t foresee that it will be” becomes in fact a good reason to stop worrying about what will happen to us when we fight for what is right.