This could be called A Tale of Two Popes, one giving us a pathway of Passive Action and the other giving us a pathway to Active Action.     Neither is talking about weakness or aggression.

Both are talking about being faithful to the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus teachingOn this Third Sunday After Easter,  we are given the words of the first leader of the Church (somewhat paraphrased):   “Be good,  do well, live lives of good moral character.  Then those who speak against you as evildoers,  may see your good works and glorify God because of you.”     And later: “. . . by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
On one level, that is easy to understand.   If there are those who are criticizing your Christian faith,  and even (as in this country) they are angrily,  loudly,  shouting accusations and threats against you because you are a follower of Christ,  then be sure to be a good person,  do good things, and eventually they will see they have no reason to oppose you.

Okay.  Being a person of good moral character is my business –  my duty to work that out before God.   As a teacher,  I can help others to understand those words and maybe give some good ideas about how to “become good”  and to “do well,”  etc.

It takes an awful lot of intelligence and courage to accomplish that!    It’s not  weakness in the face of opposition, , but a Passive type of endeavor in the face of today’s aggressive moral corruption.  It’s an indirect and  passive type of push-back  but only one-half of an effective defense.

The other half was very well stated a few centuries later:

not to opposeThis is Active Action;  these are some things we can do in  the face of growing bigotry against Christians and the existence of Christophobia.

We can oppose error wherever it is found.

We can defend truth, knowing that asserting the truth is not aggression

We can, by good argument and by good deeds,  “confound” evil men and their actions.

Truth.    Error.    I will “push back”  with  definitions of truth and error next time.   The Reading today from Peter and the quotation from Pope Felix III  is enough to think about for now.

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