HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
Bishop Rene Henry Gracida
Grant, almighty God,
that through the yearly observances of holy Lent,
we may grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ
and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Sometime before June, it is anticipated that the United States Senate will vote to confirm or reject the nomination by President Donald Trump
of Judge Neil Gorsuch as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court
replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
That vote in the United States Senate will rank in importance, in the writings of future historians on our time, with the vote in the election of November 8, 2016 that elected
Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.
The reason for its importance is that in our Republic our Constitution provides for a balance between three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
When one of those branches assumes too much power the nation enters into a crisis.
During the years of the Obama Administration Congress was so divided between the two political parties that it could accomplish very little and so, in the vacuum, President Obama assumed dictatorial powers ruling by Executive Orders.
At the same time the Judiciary of the United States with the majority of its judges having been appointed by Liberal President Clinton and even more Liberal President Obama usurped the powers of Congress and legislated from the bench.
That breakdown in the constitutional imposed balance between the three branches of government is what has brought on the crisis in which our Nation now finds itself.
The role of the United States Supreme Court is to keep the presidency and Congress in check so that the balance of power is not disturbed.
With a Court that has been, and is now completely dominated by liberal justices appointed by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, the confirmation of conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch is critical for the future of our Nation.
The confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch will require, under the present rules of the Senate, 60 affirmative votes. There are 60 Republican Senators and so it would seem that the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch is a sure thing. But, several Republican Senators have indicated that they will probably vote against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch.
If that looks as though it will happen, the Republican majority will probably vote to restore the traditional rule of the Senate regarding Supreme Court nominee confirmations which only requires fifty-one votes for confirmation, which is a sure thing for the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch.
If the Republican majority in the Senate vote to change the rule to allow only a majority vote for confirmation, they will be said to have exercised
THE NUCLEAR OPTION.
The “Nuclear Option” has come to mean in our everyday conversation choosing an option with regard to some big decision which will have ‘earth shattering’ consequences similar to the effects produced by a nuclear bomb.
The first reading of todays Mass, the reading from the Book of Genesis tells us about the first exercise of the Nuclear Option in the field of morality. In the poetic style of the author of the Book of Genesis we are told of the decision of our first parents to exercise the Nuclear Option and to decide for themselves in some matter of great importance. We know of it only through the poetic narrative of Genesis as involving the fruit of the apple tree.
But what the poetry of Genesis is really saying is that in some very important matter which God had declared that doing it was participating in evil and which Satan was declaring that on the contrary by doing it Adam and Eve would be acting as Gods in determining for themselves what is good and evil.
Their decision to do as Satan urged them to do truly produced earth shattering results. It was the world’s first
Nuclear Option of Morality.
Ever since then men and women, having inherited the free will given to the by the Creator, have the ability to choose the Nuclear Option; that is, are free to decide for themselves something that God has revealed by natural or positive law to be evil, is for them, in these circumstances, good.
Now we can understand a little better what the temptations of our Lord in the desert were all about.
Satan is tempting Jesus in his humanity to abandon his passion on the cross and to engage his divine nature and do as Satan was urging him to do, to choose the Nuclear Option of not following the Father’s plan for the redemption of mankind.
And so it has been with us.
How many times have we exercised the Nuclear Option and chosen to do, or not do, something serious that our conscience tells us God commands or forbids?
That is what Lent is all about.
As we prepare, forty days from now, to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead on Easter Sunday,
we will be better prepared if we have reflected on the times we have exercised the Nuclear Option and sinned and through prayer and penance, strengthen our resolve to avoid the Nuclear Option in moral matters.
the society in which we live daily
presents us with temptation to sin.
Grant that our Lenten Observance
may be successful in resisting the temptation to exercise
the Nuclear Option
and judge something you have revealed
as being truly evil
is good for me!
I ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
forever and ever.