Obedience and Development

Last night my friends and I were discussing about how obedience is never mechanical. It is not simply being told what to do and doing what we are told. Sometimes we want to be told what to do because we are having a hard time understanding what we should do, what we should believe. But notice how moralistic and systematic that is. Life cannot be reduced to a system or laws. In the end, such a view of life will suffocate you. I find that this tendency to reduce life into a system is manifested in many ways. For example, a person thinks he is called to the priesthood. He enters the seminary, does what he is told, and then thinks he can pursue his self-appointed mission. Many times we just want to get things “right.” In this case, it may very well be that he did his chores in the seminary, went to confession, etc. but is still immature. Again, it is because life is not about getting this right. Even if we know which things are “right,” what beliefs are true, we can still fall short. My friend said, “Suppose life B is good. Then you did it. So what?”

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Freedom is for Worship

The setting is first century second Temple Judaism. It is hard to fully describe the worldview of second Temple Judaism because it was pluralistic. We know that there were many eschatological movements and it is safe to say that “eschatology” in that time meant a restoration of Israel and the cosmos under the one God. For example, the Qumran community believed that they were the true Israel which God would vindicate. In the end, there will be a battle between good and evil, those who walk the ways of righteousness and those who walk in the ways of Belial, the ways of darkness, and God will destroy darkness, “destroy it forever” (1QS ch.4). Those who followed evil were not simply the Romans, but the Jews associated with the Temple. The Temple, they believed, was plagued by Hellenistic influences which they saw as evil.

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Criticizing the Church

Every Catholic, every human person, was affected by the scandal made here in by priests and bishops. The ugliness and evil we saw committed by people who were supposed to be holy, supposed to be an example for the world, are intolerable. Those who thirsted for justice criticized, rightly, the Church. There is, then, an appropriate criticism of the Church. There is also the question of doctrine and disciplines. How can the Church proclaim a dogma such as the Assumption of Mary when the evidence seems to be lacking? How can the Church require men to be celibate simply because they have the vocation of priesthood? How come the Church does not support and affirm homosexuals properly? Why did the Church propose the new mass? The questions are endless and they need to be endless.

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