Wednesday, Scott and I and all his family arose long before the crack of dawn and hit the road to attend the funeral of their beloved Aunt. It was a lovely service, and I have much more to say about that later, but we left the house at about 6:15am and returned home just after 9pm and I still had to do laundry. Scott hit the pillows pretty much immediately, so I sat down in the living room to sort and fold and decided to watch the Daily Mass via YouTube. I had read (and posted) the readings for the day for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a homily sounded just perfect for topping off the evening. Unfortunately, Wednesday’s homily was not available, but after a medium-sized hissy fit, I decided to settle for Tuesday’s mass. I was exceedingly glad that I did.
Fr. Mitch Pacwa gave the homily, which focused on the life and death of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was killed in Auschwitz after volunteering to take the place of another prisoner. For anyone to volunteer to be starved to death in order than another person might live (there were no guarantees of life in Auschwitz, of course), is amazing, but what truly struck me about Fr. Mitch’s homily was what happened before and what happened after in regards to the friary he founded in Nagasaki, Japan.
St. Maximilian made several mission trips to Japan. When he built the friary, according to Shinto beliefs, it was built on the “wrong” side of the mountain and therefore out of harmony with nature. However, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the “right” side of the mountain bore the brunt of the blast and the monastery was protected.
The deadliest bomb ever created is dropped on a town, but the friary, built where it should not have been built, survives. We are that friary!
We live in difficult times. Christians cannot stand up for their beliefs without ridicule and animosity. Our Catholic institutions are being forced to pay for contraception and abortion insurance which is in direct violation of our beliefs. What will happen next? Evangelical atheism is rising and we see more and more billboards, videos, even t-shirts, for crying out loud, demanding that we stop this ridiculousness and throw away our faith. We face constant bullying and smear campaigns against anything or anyone which supports the gospel. Look no further than the Chick-fil-a fiasco. A businessman states that he supports biblical marriage and the internet explodes with accusations of hate speech. Co-workers I’ve spoken to who didn’t check the facts were under the impression that Dan Cathy stated outright that he hated gays, wouldn’t hire them, and wouldn’t serve them. Bottom line, you can’t stand up for what the Bible says without having a massive hate campaign launched against you. But this is much bigger than worrying that someone will be put out of business for standing up for what they believe. It raises this fear that Christians will eventually be stamped out and silenced forever.
But after the mushroom cloud dissipated, the friary still stood.
The Nazis rose to power and were destroyed. The communists came and the communists went. Even the Early Church was persecuted for over 300 years by the Romans. ROME FELL. All sorts of evil rises but it will always fall, and when it does, the Church will still stand. We will outlast this madness because we are the carriers of a sacred message. When all of this has passed, no matter who rises to power and who falls, the Word of God will continue to be spoken and carried to those who need it. God will always make sure we’re on the right side of the mountain. Christianity isn’t going anywhere.