Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen"

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.

The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen." Matt. 22:2-14

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matt. 7:13, 14

If you want to do an interesting Bible study, get a concordance and look up all the verses in the Gospels that have the word "many" in it. In His teachings, Jesus often points out that there will be "many" who think they are going to heaven, but will not. The reasons seem to focus on a person is pretending to be something they are not - a guest without the right clothes, or someone who says and does all the right things on the outside; but inside is unloving.

There is an old-fashioned word that the King James Version of the Bible uses: remnant. In the Revelation to John, it says this:

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev.12:17 KJV)

The reason I've been thinking about these types of verses is because it has occurred to me that we, as Christians, as His Body upon this earth - were never the majority. True Christianity is rare. There may have been moments in history when Christians were more plentiful in society, but the followers of Christ have continued to be persecuted, vilified, mocked, and unfairly treated ever since the Apostles were martyred. I say this because it should not be a surprise to see what is happening to Christianity today.

However, I will admit that even I have been used to living in a "Christian" nation. I grew up attending church and so did most of the people I knew. I grew up accepting that the Bible was the Word of God. Christian values used to be reflected in the movies and magazines. This is no longer the case. The spirit of the world has changed our country and "the way things used to be" until we are now facing more hostility to our faith than we had ever imagined. Every day there is yet another attack on our beliefs, from FOCA to the recent "Hate Crime" bill that puts at risk a pastor preaching against homosexuality from the Bible.

As I've mentioned, I'm in the midst of reading Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church by Michael S. Rose. My heart has been broken these past few days as I've read account after account of erroneous teachings and outright evil. I know there has been issues of accuracy with Rose's writing; but I know too well the truth of what he is saying. During college, one of my projects for a communication class was to study a group or organization's style of communicating. My project team chose the campus group of gays and lesbians. (At that time, we didn't have the whole alphabet of GLBTQRSTUV to deal with...) I saw how well-connected they were and the growing militancy of the group.

Add that to the enemy's attempts to undermine the Church of Jesus Christ and you have what we are witnessing today: a no-holds barred, all-out war on Christianity.

There is one bright spot. For the moment, we have this - the Internet, and all the ways we receive information and encouragement. As I read yet another story about a "Catholic" teacher in a seminary deliberately teaching heresy, I suddenly smiled. I thought, "They" think they have destroyed faith. They are wrong. They weren't counting on the Internet.

By "they," I am referring to the dissenters against the Bible, the Pope, the Magisterium, and all of our Catholic doctrine, held throughout history. They thought that by hammering the shepherds, the sheep would be lost. They thought that by sodomizing and feminizing our priests, the plans would be set in motion for the Church to bless active homosexuality and ordain women as priests. But they were wrong.

The Internet has usurped their false sense of authority and power. For this, I will always love the Internet and how presently, it has not only leveled the playing field for intellectual discussion, but has birthed a completely new game. For better or worse, our spiritual nourishment doesn't just happen on Sunday mornings. We now can find good, solid food in many places - on the radio, in a magazine, or on the Internet.

We still need our priests. Don't get me wrong. The priest has the power and authority to distribute the Sacraments. But God has kept a remnant faithful to Him and will continue to do so. I praise God for all the good priests who have fought the "good fight," and have stood strong for the truth. Keep them in your prayers because I have a feeling the battle is only going to intensify.


Unknown said...

The verse I cling to when all the muck and mire starts to pile up is Christ's promise when he made Peter our first Pope. "...upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the nethrworld shall not prevail against it."
Thanks for this post; it reminds us of the hope we should have even when things in the Church start to appear bleak.

X said...

MR, I totally agree that the internet has been a wonderful teaching and evangelizing tool. Never in the history of Christianity have so many been able to access so much faithful, orthodox Catholic teaching and literature.

And then there's online bookstores where we can order things in print - back when I returned to the Church in the mid-80s we had some mouldy old books that were later pulled to doctrinal error! Naturally since my formation was so poor I left the Church.

Every few years I would make an attempt to come back and within weeks I would leave again because I had nothing to nourish me. In 2002 I tried coming back again and same old story - until I found Catholic Online Forum (where I met you, I believe!) and then that was it - I finally had access to REAL Catholic teaching at my fingertips night and day. I was like a thirsty sponge greedily soaking up every last tiny bit of information. I literally could.not.get.enough. Of course that first intense honeymoon did slow down but I've never lost my thirst for knowledge and I am still amazed at how much there is still to learn.

I am just sad that through the internet people have such easy to porn as they do now.

Mary Rose said...

Great comments. When I returned last year, I really was amazed by all the resources I was finding. Many of them were written by converts to the faith, which I can understand since they are seeing the rich treasures of Catholicism with fresh eyes.

It's especially been encouraging to me as I've been reading Michael Rose's book. It still breaks my heart to think of good men being turned away from the priesthood, but then I think of the possibility that many found their way online and have their own website or contribute to the message boards.

At any rate, Catholics can find spiritual guidance in other places that support their commitment to the Bible, the Magisterium, and the Pope. The radical liberal agenda of watering down the power of the Church has been thwarted to a certain degree by the ability we now have to learn fidelity to the faith from a variety of sources.

Angela, I agree with you on the issue of porn. I think of the parable of the 'Wheat and Tares.' Evil grows up alongside the good. And to let you know, I remembered my patron saint yesterday! I'm looking for a good book about her life. If you or anyone has a good recommendation for a St. Catherine of Siena biography, pass it along. :-)

owenswain said...

It's nice to hear some sense. What I do often read is people of our faith disparaging the medium, a medium they themselves use, for all the bad it contains. What's the point of that? Let's just use it for good, whatever good we can in our own small or large way.