Bishop Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles
Red Mass 2016
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Lake Charles, La.
Friday, October 21, 2016

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”  Luke 12:57

The Gospel for today is quite appropriate for the Red Mass, when we ask God’s blessings on the legal community.  Our Lord teaches us about accepting responsibility for the choices we make and the actions we take.

“When you see a cloud rising in the west,” our Lord says, “you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does” (Luke 12:54).  However, while it appears easy for us to read the weather, when it comes to “the present time” we seem incapable of interpreting the obvious.  Or perhaps we in fact possess the correct interpretation but fear admitting it.  Our Lord concludes, “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57).   In other words, why can you not act with moral certitude?  Is it because you are ignorant or is it because you are fearful?  And of what are you ignorant or afraid?

To say that we find ourselves in troubled times is an understatement.  But are the times any less troubled than those confronted by our ancestors?  Certainly our parents met the challenges of the Great Depression and a world war with courage and did what they had to do.  The present times may be simply a variation on a theme but we must look to ourselves.  God gives us no more than we can handle, so He must have given us the wherewithal to do what is right.

To do what is right—and interpreting the “signs of the times” is doing what is best—there must be a commitment to truth.  The truth is not as elusive as we might think.  Truth has been defined as that which corresponds to reality.   When we flee the truth like cowards, take refuge in artificialities and conjecture, then we have indeed refused to accept reality.

Knowing the truth, when we are honest, should be as forthcoming as knowing the significance of “a cloud rising in the west.”  It is a prevailing desire for the truth that prompts us on our way to court to settle with our opponent (Luke 12:58).  Why should we waste someone’s time and maintain the conceit of offense, when acknowledging the truth would restore peace and tranquility and ultimately secure the truth?

We should all be fatigued with living in a society that appears no better than a reality show or cheap spy thriller, with all the cynicism and insincerity that one associates with those genres.   I for one am deeply offended when the Catholic Church is referred to as a “middle ages dictatorship.”     I am more than offended with a blatant disregard for human life.  It seems that we have become satisfied with a “new normal” of corruption and lies.  It reminds me of a saying I heard long ago.  “Mediocrity is like water.  It seeks its lowest level.”  We simply descend lower and lower.

But when you are sinking, you should reach up and grasp for something to save you.    For the Christian there should be no question about what that stabilizing life-vest is.  It is the truth so clearly articulated by Jesus Christ and as obvious as “a cloud rising in the west.”   May God grant us the wisdom and courage to read “the signs of the times,” to seek the truth that is so conspicuously before us.