What Would Jesus Do? On San Bernardino and the Need to Defend Ourselves
A few days after the San Bernardino, California gun shooting has occurred, it seemed like a good topic to touch on. There has been a huge increase in news stories dealing with the number of terrorist attacks occurring in just about every single country. It is ever more evident that the time has come that we ourselves take up arms and conceal carry.
These terrorist attacks are committed by men and women of varying ethnicities and creeds. They occur mostly in “gun-free zones”. Yet we hear the bombardment of squeals from those calling for more “gun control laws” (because that worked out real well in San Bernardino, didn’t it?). Tougher gun laws are being requested, even though the attack occurred in a gun-free zone, and were committed with guns that are banned in the state of California. Even with all of these cries it is critical that we look to the clear teaching from Our Lord Jesus Christ about the need to protect ourselves.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus makes it very clear to his disciples that they should always be armed:
When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want anything? But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end. But they said: Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough. Luke 22:35-38
Obviously, if we were to apply this Gospel to today’s culture, we could easily replace the sword with a pistol as swords are not commonplace in today’s world. Jesus does later criticize Peter for using the sword when Peter uses it against one of the servants and cuts off his ear (” he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”) but it is important to remember what Jesus meant by this.
Those who live by the sword are referring to those who use violence as their first and primary means. If your first response whenever an issue occurs is using a weapon, you will eventually die by this weapon as eventually you will encounter someone who is better than you are. However, there is nothing at all wrong with defending oneself or those around you, even going as far as using deadly force, if the intention is not to kill the aggressor, but to stop him.
While I am calling for all citizens to begin to carry a gun on them at all times, I am not calling for them to go ahead and murder those around them. I am advocating for them to use the gun to stop the force, if necessary. Obviously, these terrorists would not get very far with their mass shootings if a small army of say ten passersby all pulled out their pistols and began firing back.
A lot of these shootings have also been motivated by groups with ties to ISIS. I have heard the argument from several people that perhaps we are at a point in history in which Catholics are being called to martyrdom. While it is possible that some of us will get to be martyrs for Jesus Christ and the Holy Catholic Church, I would like to point out that one, just because we are called to martyrdom, does not mean we can not defend ourselves and those around us, and two, some of us are not called to martyrdom and are called to defend those weaker than ourselves.
When looking back in history, the Mexican government actively attacked and murdered Catholics due to fear that the Catholic Church would overtake their country. The Christeros rose up against the government and fought back, defending themselves, and even bringing some of the battles to the soldiers. As these battles were just in using the theory of just war, many of the Christeros who died could be considered martyrs. In fact, quite a few of them were canonized by both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. One can defend oneself, but still die for Christ and become a martyr.
While it is important that we all pray for peace and healing during this time, we must also pray for the unity of the world to join the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Until the world converts and lives a holy life, there will never truly be peace as only communion with Jesus Christ and His Church can give that. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and those who deny Him will be denied by His Father. Jesus founded one Church, the Catholic Church, for all of His followers to belong to. A rejection of this Church is a rejection of Christ, and a rejection of Christ is a rejection of your union with Him in Heaven.
Therefore, as we joyfully await the birth of Our Lord this Advent, I humbly implore you to prayerfully consider accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and coming home into the Catholic Church. And if you haven’t been to confession in a while, please, examine your conscience and go. For just as those who deny Christ can not enter Heaven, those who have offended Our Lord by committing any mortal sin have cut themselves off from His grace, and can not enter into Heaven.