Making a moral choice

July 3, 2018

In the first reading this Sunday from the Book of Wisdom it says: “For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying.” (Wis 1: 14-15) I often wonder when God looks at the Earth, what does God see? Does God see an imaginary line drawn between the US and Mexico? I am pretty sure in Heaven there is not a ‘US’ and a ‘Mexico’, only God’s beautiful and wondrous creation.

We often hear the claim that “those people” come here illegally so they should be punished. Again, when God looks at us does he see us and “those people”? At one point in our history, slavery was legal, so was the holocaust, genocide, segregation, and stealing native american children from their parents. Legality has nothing to do with justice. Jesus challenged the law on a regular basis. He lived outside the power structure and in the margins. What do we do when we are faced with a moral dilemma, what choices do we have?

The Franciscan theologian, Blessed John Dun Scotus teaches us that the will not only has the capacity for choice, we can freely choose or reject to make a moral choice. Franciscan scholar, Sr. Mary Beth Ingham describes this dilemma in her book The Harmony of Goodness: Mutuality and Moral living according to John Dun Scotus. When faced with a moral decision we can utilize our experience, our intuition, our understanding of moral reasoning, and our learned moral knowledge together to formulate a decision of what we should do. However because we have the ability to choose, even though we clearly understand what we should do, we are free to choose otherwise, either by choosing something inappropriate or by not choosing at all.  We can choose not to choose. Which is what most of us choose. Dr. Vasko in her book Beyond Apathy; A Theology for the Bystander states “To be a Christian is to take sides with those who are marginalized, dehumanized and subject to violence. Whether we like it or not neutrality isn’t an option. In the face of violent activity, to hide behind the mirror of ignorance is to take sides with the powers that be.”

In our second reading from 2 Corinthians it says; “but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.” (2Cor 8:13-14) It is pretty clear what the apostle Paul is saying in this statement. You would almost think that Paul was a socialist. On Father’s Day, Rev. Jacob C. Ledwon, pastor at St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo, NY in his homily said, “You may think to yourself… ‘I don’t come to a church to hear about politics.’ Well if you do not want to hear about politics don’t ever read the Bible because the Bible is a political document. Don’t ever look at a crucifix, because Jesus died as a political prisoner.”

St. Bonaventure tells us that how we choose and what we choose makes a difference – first in what we become by our choices and second in what the world becomes by our choices. So we each have to answer a simple question: Do we chose to do what is right, just, and moral? Do we choose to take a path where we hoard our abundance while others go without, or do we choose not to choose?

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

Suggested Action:
This week, we urge you to take 10 minutes and watch Rev. Jacob C. Ledwon’s homily. Sit with his message and wrestle with what God is saying to you.