In today’s second reading from the Office of Readings (Ez 2.8-3.11,17-21), God uses His prophet Ezekiel to challenge us – another one of those hard teachings for those of us living in what some are describing as the post-Christian era.
What do I mean? Let me explain.
In the face of objective evil and sin, the politically correct response today is to remain silent. “You have no right,” we are told, “to ‘judge’ anyone.”
The Truth is that in charitably sharing God’s law with someone who is obviously not following it, we are not judging them, but loving them and trying to save their souls. They may not know what God expects of them. Perhaps they have forgotten what the eternal consequences of violating His commands will be. They may even resent our efforts to share His truth with them. We will likely be ridiculed and mocked for doing so.
Should we remain silent then in the presence of those contemporary voices that shout out: “Not your concern; you have no right to impose your beliefs on others; keep them to yourselves”? After all, isn’t it really between God and each individual soul?
At one level, the answer to the last question I posed above is yes. Each individual can choose to accept or reject God and His commands. They will some day stand alone before the Throne of Justice and be held accountable for the manner in which they exercised the gift of free will. In that sense, they will sink or swim eternally based on the choices they made during their earthly lives. This is a tragic reality and an outcome we should wish on no one. But how does the sinfulness of others affect our eternal well being?
Despite Cain’s protestations to the contrary, we are “our brother’s keepers”. We are to care for much more than their physical needs. The prophet Ezekiel emphasizes an even more important spiritual task God has given each of us – one none of us relish and few of us fulfill - we are to be watchmen warning our lost and sinful brothers and sisters of God’s Word and the consequences of not heeding It:
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of
; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life. Again, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and you will have saved your life." (Ex 3:17-21) Israel
Still think we can remain silent when confronted with the objective manifestation of such intrinsic evils in the lives of those we know and love as abortion, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization, euthanasia, cohabitation, sex outside of marriage, and the homosexual lifestyle?
Wow. That’s too hard, too difficult. I can’t do it.
No wonder the prophets are never welcomed.