November 26, 2022

The word “abomination” is a serious biblical term that sometimes gets thrown around carelessly in public religious discourse.  It might be best translated as “horrifying” or “disgusting” and is most often aimed at same-sex-attracted people (cf. Lev 18:22).  Nevertheless, a more rigorous exploration of the scriptural text reveals that there were lots of abominations in the ancient Jewish mind: eating shellfish (Lev 11:12), shaving (Lev 19:27), and getting a tattoo (Lev 19:28) to name a few.  In one way or another, each of these activities jeopardized the growth of the fledgling covenant community whose sole purpose was to establish a nation that could survive in adverse geopolitical conditions.  As the story of salvation has unfolded, however, the dignity of each person (Gen 1:26), beyond national identity or ethnic purity, has emerged as the focal point of authentic human living.  It has thus become increasingly clear that the real abomination is a heart that is “fat and gross” (Ps 119:70), when we choose pietism over communion with our sisters and brothers  (Lk 10:31-32), or any other behavior that keeps us from our deepest identity as children of the living God (1 Jn 4:19).  Let’s, therefore, have the courage to relinquish the moralism that has us obsessing about “specks” when there is a “beam” obstructing our own vision of things (Mt 7:3).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

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