Worse than 1867


The Readings for the 14th Thursday, Tempus per Annum

Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Matthew 10:15

1867 OF THE CATECHISM is one of those hard ones. It lists the “‘sins that cry to heaven‘: the blood of Abel139, the sin of the Sodomites140, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt141, the cry of the foreigner142, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner143.” And whilst it is heavily footnoted, there are no other explanations offered than these Bible verses:

  • 139 Cf. Gen 4:10. And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
  • 140 Cf. Gen 18:20; And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
    Gen. 19:13. For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.
  • 141 Cf. Ex 3:7-10. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; (etc)
  • 142 Cf. Ex 20:20-22. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. etc
  • 143 Cf. Deut 24:14-15; Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.
    Jas 5:4. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the teachings on the Church on these matters. I’m not here to debate the gravity of them: some – along with me – agree with the Church on these things. Some disagree – citing misunderstandings, heretical teachings, or even Satanic distortions – to approve unjust wages, oppressing strangers, and sexual sins. Some approve one while rejecting others. It’s important to see that the Catechism lists them all together as the most grievous sins.

And Jesus says hindering the Gospel of the Kingdom is worse.

Jesus is clear about what this proclamation looks like: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10:7-8) We don’t do much of that, tbh, anymore. (The CFRs did a podcast about this recently.) But, apart from what some confuse with “Charismatic stuff”, backing away from or hindering the Gospel can come in many forms from flat out refusing to say Jesus’ name to just letting others (coworkers, for ex) abuse it without correction; from open support for cultural lies to making RCIA easier or “inclusive” because of an attachment to “the numbers”. We walk a fine line always. An unwillingness to “lean in” on the full Truth of the proclamation of the kingdom means people are not always coming into the same place: if we don’t proclaim the Gospel, people cant accept the Gospel. Full stop. We also thereby provide an inoculation against the real thing.

This is worthy of Jesus’ condemnation.

Again, after yesterday’s post about Hosea (where I filled in the missing verses) the same is true today: if, instead of 11:1-4, 8E-9, if you read 11:1-11 you’ll see a very disturbing image: God’s love shows up as wrath.

They shall follow the LORD, who roars like a lion; When he roars, his children shall come frightened from the west, Out of Egypt they shall come trembling, like birds, like doves, from the land of Assyria; And I will resettle them in their homes, oracle of the LORD.

Hosea 11:10-11

God hates the distance Israel puts between the people and God. God hates the distance we put between ourselves and him. He lets us suffer the distance we put there. We will come trembling. But we will come.

God wants us to be with him. But running away isn’t really the best option.

Letting others stay away – because we’re uncomfortable – is selfish and worse than Sodom.

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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