The challenge of Lent continues beyond Easter Print
Making a Difference
Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
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As the Lend ends, let us never forget its commanding start: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel!"

We could spend most of our lives reflecting and acting on this single powerful sentence. And indeed we should.

For in turning away from all that hurts our relationship with God — sin — and being faithful to the essential foundation which nurtures that relationship — the Gospel — we discover ever more fully the beauty, peace, joy, and meaning of this life, and prepare well for the incomprehensible wonders of eternal life!

Turning away from sin

This is the ideal time for the nation as a whole to turn away from sin.

What evil has our country committed? What good has our country failed to do?

As a nation we are selective as to whose lives we respect and protect. In many cases the vulnerable and poor are attacked or ignored.

Blessed Pope John Paul II in his prophetic encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) wrote that this immoral reality can truly be described as a “structure of sin.”

He continued, “This reality is characterized by the emergence of a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable ‘culture of death.’ This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic, and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency. Looking at the situation from this point of view, it is possible to speak in a certain sense of a war of the powerful against the weak. …”

War against the weak

The legal killing of unborn babies through abortion is a prime example of the weak being crushed by those who hold power over them: the government, abortion mills, and even mothers.

The legalized mass murder of war is another clear example of the powerful brutalizing the weak. Even though it is a fact that modern warfare kills many more innocent civilians than combatants, that immoral reality doesn’t stop our government and the military industrial complex from jumping from one war to the next.

The U.S. is the world’s largest arms merchant. Weapons made in America are fueling wars across the globe.

Financial deregulation, corporate greed, and huge tax breaks for the rich have unjustly allowed corporations and wealthy individuals to amass huge profits while the rest of the nation struggles through the Great Recession.

It is a national sin that our wealthy nation gives less than one percent of its federal budget to help the world’s poorest people.

And as a nation, we continue to keep the millions of undocumented workers who pick our vegetables, landscape our communities, and fix our roads, in the underground shadows of society.

There is for sure “a war of the powerful against the weak.”

Love as Jesus loved

But Catholic social teaching instructs the powerful, and all of us, to give a special preference to the weak, poor, and vulnerable.

And in the Gospel, Jesus warns that when we fail to feed the hungry, and refuse to welcome the foreigner, we fail to feed and welcome him.

He instructs us to put down the sword. To be nonviolent. And to even love our enemies.

Jesus says the Father’s kingdom is all about love.

So let’s strive to be lovers. Let’s strive as individuals, and as a nation, to “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel!”


Tony Magliano is a nationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.