The March of Folly

(Homily for Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B)

Bottom line: Destruction awaits those who close their ears: Jesus, help us to hear your voice.

Perhaps you have heard of a book called March of Folly. In it the great historian, Barbara Tuchman, gives examples of governments which acted against their own self-interest and brought destruction upon themselves. They pursued a disastrous course even though many people warned them against it. As a classic example she presents the story of the Trojan horse. You remember how the Greeks left a wooden horse in front of the city of Troy. Inside its belly, the enormous horse was full of Greek soldiers. Several people warned the Trojans that it was a trick, but they brought it inside their city anyway. Well, you probably know the rest. After the Trojans finished their celebration, the Greeks descended from the wooden horse to burn and sack the city. The Trojans lost everything because they would not listen.

We are facing something similar in our country today. You no doubt have heard about our government's decision regarding the Morning After Pill, also called Plan B or Emergency Contraception. The FDA has ruled that it be sold over the counter, with no prescription required. Like the Trojan horse, people are haling Emergency Contraception as a wonderful gift - which we should all welcome and celebrate. There are a few voices against it, but the promoters of the drug have pretty well drowned them out. In fact, the biggest complaints seem to be coming from those who want the drug available to everyone, no matter what their age.

I am not going to get into this whole debate, but I want to ask this question: Who will be the biggest beneficiaries of this drug? Besides the pharmaceutical companies, I mean. Who are the people the drug is most likely to protect? The answer is clear: Emergency Contraception will protect male predators. This is particularly the case with teenage pregnancy. According to various studies, between one half and two-thirds of minors who get pregnant have an adult man as the baby's father. This is called statutory rape. The man, being over eighteen, will be able to go into a pharmacy and purchase the drug, no questions asked. It solves his dilemma, but it leaves behind a trail of destruction. The destruction happens not only in the case of an underage girl. Any woman who takes this drug will experience lasting damage - spiritual, emotional and perhaps even physical.* And she - and the dad - will live with the knowledge that they may have deliberately destroyed their offspring.** Emergency Contraception is a Trojan Horse in our society. We may not feel the impact immediately as did the people of Troy, but it will come sooner than we imagine.

The day of reckoning for our society is advancing rapidly. Still, I think we can see something positive in all this. The fact that the current administration is making EC an over the counter drug is a wake-up call. We cannot pin our hopes on any political party. We need to be politically involved, but we place our hopes not in politics, but in Jesus. As we see this Sunday, one of the great things which Jesus wants to do for us is open our ears so we can hear the truth. Today we hear Isaiah prophecying that "the ears of the deaf would be cleared." Jesus fulfills that prophecy when took a deaf man aside, touched his ears and said, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." Imagine how beautiful to hear the voice of Jesus. It would make the years of silence and isolation vanish like mist. No wonder the townspeople could not be restrained from telling the wonder they had experienced. Jesus wishes to open someone's ears this day, perhaps yours or mine. We wait upon his word. It is our sole hope.

**********

*I say physical because (according to Planned Parenthood's website) this drug is the equivalent of up to forty ordinary birth control pills - which of course do require a prescription.

**There is a lot of obfuscation about whether the drug prevents implantation (thus killing a newly conceived human) or whether it only prevents ovulation and/or transportation of the sperm. It seems to me that one question cuts through the fog: If an ovum is present in the fallopian tube, how long does it take for the sperm to hit its target? The medical websites I have found, say it can happen from five minutes to a half an hour . Proponents of Plan B boast that the drug is "effective" if the first dose is taken within three days (72 hours) after unprotected intercourse. The question is: Effective for what? I will let you draw your own conclusions.

And even abstracting from abortifacient potential of Emergency Contraception, studies indicate there is serious doubt whether it will reduce the overall abortion rate.

Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for 23rd Sunday, Year B):

2012: A Work of Liberation
2009: Hearing his Voice
2006: The March of Folly
2003: Lord, Cleanse My Lips
2000: What is Friendship with Jesus?
1997: Real vs. Imaginary Jesus

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Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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