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7801 Bay Branch Drive
The Woodlands, TX

Class Fourteen

 

Class fourteen

To complete the homework please read the lesson and fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

1.    The Catholic Church and a few other Christian Churches are the only institutions to stand up for life 100% of the time. Jesus is our example in this regard. Jesus always stood for life when He walked the earth. He was against the death penalty (the woman caught in adultery), He lived for the poor, He healed the sick, He forgave the other thief when He was on the Cross, He forgave those who murdered Him, He supported women (which was a counter-cultural move on His part), and He even said that He was 'The Life'. What more can Jesus do to show us the importance of life? Standing up for life, and respecting the quality of life, was at the very core of Jesus’ identity and message. Because we are His followers, it needs to be at the center of our identity.

a. Murder: While this seems like a no-brainer, we want to be very clear that it is never appropriate to take an innocent life. All life is sacred, it is a gift from God: He is the Creator, we are the creatures. Therefore, we do not have the right to directly and intentionally take a life.
b. Abortion: Every unborn life is sacred and must be given the opportunity to live. No one, for any reason, has the right to directly deprive the child of this life. This is the Church's teaching in a nutshell. We must remember that to be pro-life means that we not only want the unborn child to live, but we also want the mother to live without the guilt of taking the life of her child. Being pro-life also means that we help heal mothers and fathers who have suffered abortion. A pro-life response means we pray and fast for an end to abortion, and that we never ever help anyone to get an abortion, or even say that it is 'ok' to have one (Jeremiah 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Psalm 22:10-11).
c. Euthanasia: Euthanasia is the termination of a human life that is sick, handicapped, dying, or generally not able to live to a full physical capacity. The Church says very clearly that this 'putting out of commission' is murder because it is directly trying to end one's suffering through death. Death is used as the means for solving the problem of suffering. In the case where burdensome medical procedures are required to keep one alive, one can remove them, even if a secondary outcome is that the patient dies. Here, the death of the patient is not willed.
d. Capital Punishment: The Church says that given today's means of imprisonment, there is no adequate justification for taking the life of a criminal. Even the taking of another life in cold blood, while in itself a very serious sin, does not allow the state to take the life of the murderer. Even after sinning seriously, the murderer has not lost his/her basic dignity as a human being, nor have they lost the right to live.
e. Suicide: At no time is any individual allowed to take their own life, because all life, especially our own, is a precious gift from God. Suicide happens for a number of reasons, most of them because of psychological problems, and God takes all of these problems into account when He judges the person. He is a loving God who has mercy on all of us: He wants to bring us to heaven, and will do anything to make that happen short of forcing His will on us.
f. Other issues: There are many other issues our society faces that are not directly life/death issues, but rather touch on quality of life and the respect for the individual. This includes health issues, scientific research, poverty issues, reproduction issues (especially cloning), employment issues, war/peace issues, etc. As Catholics, we must stand with Jesus and be committed to defending life.

*We make no judgment on the eternal state of someone who commits these sins. That will be done
by God alone. These have always been the teachings of the Church on life. They will not change, nor
are they open to a vote: They come from Christ Himself, and part of our submission to Christ means
following these teachings completely.

2.    These teachings have become counter-cultural which sometimes makes it hard to share with others. Because we are baptized in Christ, we must share that knowledge and love with others. Christ has put the ball in our court and the eternal God needs us to share His love with others. If we don't witness Christ to others, it won't be done. Witnessing Christ to others is important because every person is a child of God and is called to experience the love of God (Romans 10:14).

3.    The first step in sharing your faith is to keep your actions morally good by following the Church’s teachings. We are called to be the same person at Church as we are at school, in our family, and at work. People need to see Christ in our actions. Sharing our faith means that if people ask us why we believe what we believe, we give them an answer. We tell them that it is because of Jesus that we are who we are. Christ calls us to invite others to come to Church with us. If they reject us, don't worry about it: love them the same. Witnessing is done first and foremost by living our actions for God (actions speak louder than words), by living a life rooted in prayer, and by sharing loving words with others (1 Timothy 4:12). Witnessing our faith is not for weak people - it requires courage. It is not an easy activity: It requires trust in God, the willingness to risk, and the willingness to feel uncomfortable through persecution from others (Romans 12:10).

4.    The beautiful result of following the Church’s teachings and sharing our faith is a desire to grow in our faith. When we go deeper in our faith we recognize Christ in our lives, His plan for us, and how we should respond to that plan. We need to focus on some of the specific ways that Christ reaches out to us so we can understand Him better. We will do this by looking into the ‘Incarnation’. ‘Incarnation’ is a word that means, ‘to take flesh’. What this has to do with Jesus is that we believe that Jesus, who is God, literally took flesh, became fully human and lived, died and suffered here on earth.

5.    This raises a very important principle about our spiritual lives: God works through the physical and the material in order to save us. The physical/material is the means through which God communicates to us. The physical is not unimportant, but God's primary tool of communication and salvation. (This can be contrasted to the angels, who are just spirits. We are spirit-bodies.) What we see on earth (mountains, trees, water, friends, family, etc.) are not simply nice decorations for us human beings, but are instruments that communicate God to us. Ever wonder why God didn't just make us separate individuals, totally removed from others, as if we all had our own islands? God created everything on earth to help us get to heaven and experience His love. Why doesn't God just speak to us directly or plainly? Our life on earth is a testing place, for if we can love God without seeing Him, we will truly know love.

6.    How does God come to us? He comes to us through:

a. Christ: He lived and walked on this earth (a proven, historical fact); He also lives now in our hearts.
b. Through the Church, especially her teachings about Christ, the Sacraments and through the priest.
c. Through our friends and family and all the people with whom we interact.
d. Through nature.
e. Through our bodies: Our bodies matter and are important. Their purpose is to help lead us to salvation. St. Paul calls our bodies the ‘Temple of the Holy Spirit’

7.    The Incarnation wasn't just about the birth of Jesus: The Incarnation has literally become the central and defining point of all history. One task we have as disciples of Jesus is to learn how to recognize Him in everything we see, and to be aware of His saving action in our lives.

 
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