On the way to work I try to catch today’s Mass Readings on Gus Lloyd’s drive-time show ‘Seize the Day’, on Sirius Radio’s Catholic Channel. It’s a small way to try to capture a moment of the Divine in this secular world. With the surfacing of the mindless and silly activities of two of the country’s top Generals, I found today’s First Reading, from St. Paul’s Second Letter to Titus, to be both instructive and ironic. It’s unfortunate our military brass didn’t take this and other Divine Inspiration a little more seriously:
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.
Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.
For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.
I understand the temptations of the flesh, and great men throughout history are seduced by primal instincts. Paris and Helen of Troy; Mark Antony and Cleopatra; Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Nonetheless, one has to wonder whether our current situation in Afghanistan and in the intelligence community (does anyone remember Benghazi?) would be in a more ordered position if our ‘Leaders’ took the instruction of St. Paul to heart and served as an example of temperance, dignity, and self-control.