Christmas 1 - Year B
The phrase “under the law” reads in the Greek as simply “under law” or the Jews.
In current parlance, “under the law” carries with it a sense of being oppressed by a heavy thumb of the law on the scale of justice. Here the thumb is not public/governmental, but particular/religious.
In this later sense, an article about law and adoption is in today's New York Times. It appears the Roman Catholic bishops have closed Catholic Charity affiliates rather than comply with a new Illinois state requirement that they include same-sex couples for consideration as potential foster-care and adoptive parents.
The article contains the self-pity of, “In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated.” Additionally there is the wonderful contortion of, “It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract, but does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs.” Why such silliness is not reported as such and simply left to muddy the waters is a journalistic mystery, but there we have it.
These self-serving apologies are especially egregious in light of this reported data: “Catholic Charities affiliates received a total of nearly $2.9 billion a year from the government in 2010, about 62 percent of its annual revenue of $4.67 billion. Only 3 percent came from churches in the diocese (the rest came from in-kind contributions, investments, program fees and community donations).”
This may be a kernel a sermon to be built around as we are still in the season of Joseph’s adoption of Jesus, the affirmation of Simeon, the universality of salvation, and the limitlessness of inclusivity. Just be sure to note your own denomination's hypocrisy, will to power.