Monday, 1 September 2008


Euthanasia (literally "good death" in Ancient Greek) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. There are a few classifications of what euthanasia is. One, termed euthanasia by consent, differentiates euthanasia according to consent given. According to this classification, euthanasia is either conducted with consent (voluntary euthanasia) or without consent (involuntary euthanasia, where another individual makes the decision for the person incapable of doing so). Another is euthanasia by means (passively, non-aggressively, and aggressively). Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments or the distribution of a medication to relieve pain, knowing that it may also result in death. Non-aggressive euthanasia entails the withdrawing of life support, while aggressive euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill.
The Catholic Church condemns all forms of euthanasia as "crimes against life".This teaching rests on several core principles of Catholic ethics- the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human person, concomitant human rights, due proportionality in casuistic remedies, the unavoidability of death, and the importance of charity. However allowing patients who can't be saved from death to die without medical interventions that would be considered "extraordinary" or "disproportionate" is permitted. The Declaration on Euthanasia states that:

"When inevitable death is imminent... it is permitted in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to a sick person in similar cases is not interrupted."

Although the Declaration allows people to decline heroic medical treatment when death is imminently inevitable, it unequivocably prohibits the hastening of death. In other words, allowing terminal patients to die is OK, while making them die earlier is not. [Taken from Wikipedia]

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

First, a little background on today's gospel reading. It was customary for Jesus to go weekly to the synagogue to worship and on occasion to read the scriptures and comment on them to the people. His hometown people listened with rapt attention on this occasion because they had heard about the miracles he had performed in other towns. But instead of pleasing them with wondrous miracles he criticized them instead, saying that Gentiles (who were then regarded as fuel for the fires of hell") deserved more largess from God then the "chosen ones" of Israel.
How would we have reacted if we were in that audience? Imagine this scenario. A famous priest, preacher and doer of miracles comes to your hometown. You go to his sermon expecting a good show. Instead this priest lambasted your people. How would you feel? Would you react similarly to the Jews in the reading? Or would you weigh what was said and draw some lessons from it?
IMHO the Jews in the reading were incapable of weighting Jesus' words in the above manner. They were expecting a good show! People in that mood are in the mood to get emotional, not logical. We should not follow their example. We should not go to a sermon or homily expecting a good show, but much food for thought.

Bible Readings for Today (1 Sep, Mon - 22nd Week)

1 Corinthians 2: 1-5
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God. For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling. My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Luke 4: 16-30
Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to tell them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.” All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Jesus said to them, “No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ and say, ‘What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too.’” And he added, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up three and a half years, and there was a great famine over all the land. Yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, yet none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, forced him out of the town, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But he passed through the crowd and went on his way.