Our Sugar Daddies

In the Gospels, we read about a certain rich young man who sought to justify Himself to the Lord:

“Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.


And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:17-25)

When we read this passage, many of us might resort to reducing this to a lesson about money, or even worse, believing that Jesus expects us to give all of our material wealth to the poor.  Clearly, however, that was not His intention for everyone.  The intention of Our Lord was simply to teach His disciples that God owns everything in our lives, and that we are merely to be good stewards of it.  In the above story, the rich young man went away “grieving” because he could not put his wealth under God’s sovereignty.  For us, it could very well be wealth, but it could also be any kind of talent, material advantage, or influence that we possess.  Christ was challenging this man to give over everything to God’s providence.

You”ll notice too, that once the man went away sad, Our Lord did not play the fool, allowing him to indulge his disorder.  He didn’t run after him either once he left.  He merely let him go, turned to His disciples, and explained how disordered attachments to this world – whether they be money, or fame, or reputation, or anything else – will be a formidable impediment to entering the Kingdom of God.

There is something relevant in this story to the Ted Kennedy funeral fiasco.  Notice that Jesus let the man go.  He didn’t play the indulgent instructor by ignoring the problem with this rich young man. He didn’t pretend that there wasn’t something seriously wrong in this man’s life.  He didn’t offer this man some kind of cheap mercy or false compassion.  It says Jesus “felt a love for him”, but the expression of that love did not come from indulgence but from a challenge. 

Love always challenges.  Cowardice never does.

Where was the challenge to Ted Kennedy to publicly repent before he died?  Can we really say we loved Ted Kennedy, if we let him go unchallenged?  Would Our Lord really have loved the man, if he had sent him away in a self righteous state, falsely believing that everything was kosher? 

Of course not.

Unfortunately, for everyone at the Kennedy funeral, his family, friends, and the general public lining his funeral route and watching on TV, the Church was not interested in challenging Ted before he went to his place. Instead, our pastors sent him away singing in false delight, telling him that everything was going to be alright and that he would soon see his brothers.

Unlike the Church leaders in Boston and Washington, however, Jesus was no sugar daddy, peddling a counterfeit mercy with a soft voice and slick smile.  The currency of false mercy, cloaked in its own false and self righteous accusations of “hatred, vitriol, and violence”, purchases nothing of true worth or virtue because it benefits only those who trade in it, either for human respect or the shunning of the cross.  The only words of rebuke from these people are those they direct to faithful followers of Christ who insist on Our Lord’s unmistakable witness.  They save the words of “mercy and compassion” for those who would otherwise crucify them so that they (our teachers) may avoid that fate altogether.

Instead of teaching the crowds “as one having authority” like Our Lord did, Cardinal O’Malley and his supporters taught as the Scribes did in hypocrisy and for personal advantage or benefit (Cf. Matt. 7:29).  The actions of our leaders are rightly incurring the scorn and contempt that the Scribes themselves were held in during Our Lord’s time.

Like Cardinal O’Malley, Saint Padre Pio belonged to the Capuchin order.  But sadly, in the case of bold courage, this is where the similarity ends.

There are many famous stories about Saint Pio which portray his love and mercy and kindness. But there are also many stories of him being rather gruff and condemnatory and even impolite!   The Saint, who experienced the stigmata during his life, was also known to read souls.  One account explains how one particular woman entered into the Confessional to confess her sins to Padre Pio.  Immediately, he shouted, “Criminal!”  Shocked, the woman asked the reason for his reaction, and he replied, “I see all three of your children in hell as a result of your lax faith!”  This example, and many like them by Padre Pio, should serve as a strong and unmistakable reminder to Cardinal O’Malley and his followers that there is indeed such a thing as false compassion or mercy.

For all of those who have ears, let them hear!

“I beg you not to criticize me by invoking charity, because the greatest charity is to deliver souls held fast by Satan in order to win them over to Christ.” – Saint Padre Pio

6 thoughts on “Our Sugar Daddies

  1. Excellent Post, John.

    The words of St. Pio are admonition to us all, and to me as a father of 3 grown daughters who have temporarily wandered from the faith: “I see all three of your children in hell as a result of your lax faith!“

    Lax faith is an easy trap to fall into. You can never go to church and hav lax faith. You can go every day and have lax faith. You can never pray and have lax faith, and pray daily and have lax faith. Even with the best of intentions and efforts, faith needs to be continually nurtured to prevent it from becoming lax. There are too many temptations that are so enticing.

    Father, forgive us for we know not what we do.

  2. Very insightful and a worthy response to those that accuse pro-lifers of lacking charity and civility. If only some of our bishops would share this perspective, our Church and our country would be a very different place.

  3. John you seem to be well read on Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger now our Pope Benedict 16th. How can a house with a great leader be so corrupt?

  4. Mike we live in Pagandom where Darwinian Humanist Atheism is taught to our children as truth by government decree, through the education establishments using our taxes. The same is true of abortion, homosexuality, and the so-called Kinsey sex science.
    If we remain faithful to Christ our daughters always come back, because Pagandom only uses them. For some it takes awhile and we have to be ready to quash their pain when they return. Canada is part of Pagandom now. Blessings.

  5. Everything that happens to us is a result of either not following Jesus” teachings, and acknowledging why He died , in what manner He died (suffering) and for whom He died(us)i for thus. we may reap negative consequences of sin building on top of sin etc. and not being transparent and repentant, but also not recognizing that on the other hand, when we are obedient to Our Father in Heaven and take hold of the beautiful
    gift of Jesus in His Sacraments of Reconciliation and His Body and Blood ,
    True Life -that is plus His Holy Loving Word we live lives that are indescribably amazing because we are walking with Our Lord and there is no other reason for our lives except to do just that.
    And, it doesn’t matter how haltingly we make that first step and begin or journey, just that we do, else we may lose our Eternal destiny with Him who is Life.

    Problem is for most self centered folk we commit the sin of sloth thinking that for one moment we are not dependent of God’s Grace for even our breadth, let alone for our lives to be transformed, to do His Will, His Way, not ours

    We make a grave error and this can be eternally dangerous as we “assume” mercy and that we can live as total unrepentant sinners, then
    ask for His Mercy and even assuming we will have that opportunity.
    What about that Scripture that He comes at some hour when we do not know, and to have our houses ready, and whatever is bound up on Earth will be bound
    up in Heaven, and are we really so arrogant and naive in our blindness
    or do we forget that part when Jesus said we will come to Him and ask ,even plead for His help and He could send us away saying” I do not know
    you when I tried to speak, you refused to listen,” or the part about the goats and the sheep, ey, I guess we better decide what we want to be.

    I say there is an urgency, or is it just me?

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