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The gift of unlimited love and truth

“Help wanted. No Irish need apply.” This phrase was in the New York Times paper in the year 1854. Job discrimination was not yet made illegal based on ethnicity.

No matter if you were qualified for the job, if you were Irish, you could not apply. Perhaps some employers experienced several bad workers who were Irish, and so they generalized and judged that all Irish were bad workers. Is that a fair judgement, or is that a pre-judgment, a prejudice?

Was it fair that black people could not get certain jobs because of their skin color? Of course not. After Republican President Abraham Lincoln helped win the civil war and abolish slavery, many states and cities made unfair laws discriminating against African Americans. These discriminatory policies, laws and attitudes are generally called Jim Crow laws.

It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by Democratic President John Kennedy, the first Catholic President, that helped push away Jim Crow laws, but still attitudes of racial discrimination linger, even though a person cannot choose their ethnicity.

Unfortunately, there are some people who have not followed the principles of our country: the truth that God has made all people equal in dignity. It should not matter what ethnic background or color of skin, or religious background, or biological sex you are, every person should be able to apply for a job, if they qualify for that job. That is an important “if”.

For example, a person might want to be a doctor but “if” they do not pass their exams to show they are competent, then they do not qualify. Common sense makes distinctions between unfair discrimination and necessary qualifications with respect to the nature of the job. A person may want to be a doctor, but if they can’t understand medicine, it is not their “calling” or avocation, to be a medical doctor. A person might want to be a biological mother, but “if” they are not a female, then they are not qualified for the nature of that calling.

In today’s Gospel we are reminded that Jesus Christ chose only twelve adult men to be his Apostles from among his many male and female disciples. Is this discrimination, or a necessary qualification? The answer to this question depends on how well you reason and what you believe.

As Catholics we believe that Jesus Christ is the perfect image of the heavenly Father. For this reason, Jesus chose only men to be his Twelve Apostles in order to reflect his image as a spiritual father through them. Therefore, only Catholic, confirmed men qualify to apply to be ordained priests, and among those the Church only ordains some.

Does Jesus Christ have the right and responsibility to form his Church as God the Father has shown him? Yes, absolutely. But it should be noted that the greatest member of the Church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who shines with unmatched holiness like the full moon among the stars of the other male and female saints. Jesus Christ forms his church that all might have an opportunity to be a saint, for everyone has a call to holiness which is the most important calling, the most fundamental “vocation.” Not all popes and bishops are saints, and some might even be in hell – Judas Iscariot, the apostle turned traitor – comes to mind.

Yet, the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ reflected the Twelve Tribes of Israel of the Old Testament. From those tribes came Moses and Elijah, who represent the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament. In today’s Gospel we see Jesus speaking to them on Mount Tabor because Christ fulfills all the Old Testament laws and prophecies. In the Transfiguration of Christ, we see the glory of his divinity shine through his humanity, and the organic unity between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

We also see that Jesus Christ chose only Peter, James and John among the Twelve Apos-tles to witness his Transfiguration. Is this discrimination? Or is Jesus Christ free to favor those who have a special calling within his Church?

Jesus Christ is God, and he has the freedom to choose how to design his Church, as well as who he decides to favor with a special calling. As Catholics, we trust in his design and his preferences because we trust in God who is the source of our life and our salvation. This divine truth is important for each member of the Church to uphold since it is part of God’s plan of creation and of salvation.

When we read the Bible and study Church history, we learn that although there are distinctions between bishops, priests, religious and laity, all were considered “missionary disciples” and were called to repent of their sins, grow in holiness and evangelize. Christ, who suffered and died for us, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who offered herself up with Christ at the foot of the cross, are perfect examples for each man and woman, respectively. All of us, whether a man or a woman, have the right and responsibility to follow the common sense of God’s natural law, which disposes us to the supernatural law of God’s saving truth and grace.

Part of our mission is to live and communicate the natural and moral law of God to those around us. This helps us and others prepare their soul for the reception of God the Father’s supernatural life, the saving grace of the sacraments administered by Jesus Christ through his ordained priests, our spiritual fathers.

By accepting the natural law written on every heart by God, every person is able to know and to accept the objective truth of their sexual biology: whether they are a girl or a boy, a man or a woman, and should also accept their natural abilities and gifts. Each person is called to cultivate those natural abilities and gifts with humility, for we know that another person might have better abilities and gifts. But we never lose sight of the respect we have for one another because of the natural equal dignity we share.

Through Jesus Christ and his Bride the Church, God offers the gift of unlimited love and truth to you and me and to each person. This gift makes us happy and holy to the degree that we respect who God made us to be, and how we respond to his natural and supernatural gifts and callings.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe


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