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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Choose Life, The Natural Choice

38 years ago the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark decision of Roe vs. Wade that it was the Constitutional right for a woman to abort her unborn child. Volumes have been written and spoken both in support and opposition of this ruling.
It is a topic that politically correct (or perhaps politically polite people) seek to refrain from discussing.

But it is a subject, however painful and unpleasant, that needs be addressed. God does not violate our free will. God allows us choice. But God also speaks very clearly that as a people we called to know right versus wrong, good versus evil, life versus death. It is also a sacred responsibility we share to be stewards of, protectors of, LIFE. This especially pertains to those unable to speak for or protect themselves.

This stewardship of LIFE applies to the unborn, the aged or infirm, and to all creation, trees, birds, whales....people, especially...people. In the often the more politically correct topic of the environment we find the concept of being "green" that has much to teach us. The concept of living a lifestyle that respects nature, eating real foods, making choices that both honor and respect all LIFE is profoundly valid. It is a concept that honors creation, but more importantly our Creator the Giver of Life.

The Scriptures teach us that God's truth is found in all creation (Romans 1). For those who are considering or who are proponents of abortion it would be good to look to...nature, as they consider their choices. Nature teaches us LIFE is the NATURAL CHOICE. Humans are the only species of life that so vehemently teaches and practices the destruction of their unborn, the destruction of their species. It is an interesting commentary on evolution that we humans, alleged to be the most evolved, are the species that practices the most widespread destruction of itself. This is seen in war, violence, destruction of our environment, the destruction of our unborn.

There will be those who would rush to point out species that eat their young, or weaker members of their own. Yes, all creation cries out in sad witness to the wounds the fall of humanity as wrought (Romans 8). Species may, in times of environmental or interior stress practice this self-destruction. But is it their NATURAL, their normal practice?

We cry out when a baby whale is found dying on a beach at the possible "unnatural" damage our environment has suffered to cause such loss.

When will we cry out for the approximately 4000 thousand abortions a day in the United States? When will we find the courage to face the facts of what is being done and then to find the courage to Choose Life, the Natural Choice.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Life ~ Immersed in God

Cyber-Version of homily for Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

The new year is underway. We are resolving issues of the past. We are planning, perhaps resolving, perhaps worrying about the year ahead. And we gather here today to worship God who is eternal. We seek to listen to Scripture, God's everlasting Truth. We prepare to received Christ in Holy Communion. And we are reminded we are called, created by Him, to have our lives immersed in God.

Isaiah the prophet, in our first reading recognizes the purpose of our Creator, from before our birth, to glorify Christ. We are to share and reveal Him in our daily lives and for eternity, in simplicity of our faith and love well lived.

St. Paul in his first letter to the early church in Corinth echoes the message of the early prophet. To a struggling church, seeking to live their faith in the midst of world set against them and wrestling with their own weak humanity Paul affirms that they too are called by God to be set apart, immersed in Christ's holy love, eternally.

Our Gospel reading reminds us of our Lord's baptism in the Jordan and brings to focus that from the waters of baptism we are to grow on in the baptism of the Holy Spirit given by Christ Himself. Celebrated in the Sacrament of Confirmation the Church is called to live, immersed in God. This realization of being immersed in God comes from the very word "baptize'. Literally expressed we see the longing of Christ to immerse, to drench us in His Father's redeeming love. Perhaps to better understand and hence to enter into this holy immersion we can look at our life, immersed in God. Christ seeks to immerse our life in Him, past present and future, that is, for all eternity.

So often we dwell in the past. We may lament lost youth or opportunity. We may fret and carry heavy burdens of guilt and sorrow of things done or not done. We may carry poisonous resentments while remembering and accusing others of wrongs, real or imagined. All the while, by this crippling posture of past walks we fail to live It is in the refrain from our psalm we can share the solution. "Here I am (present tense, today) Lord, I come to do your will, immerse my past in Your Holy Spirit, immerse my past, in Your mercy and forgiveness".

We also worry about the future. Health, finances, relationships, world peace, the environment all or real, cause us to lose sleep at night. All these unknowns, when dwelt upon, can rob of us of the peace and joy Christ longs for us to know, now. Striving to see beyond today we can lose sight of Christ with us in the present. This does not mean God would not have us plan or prepare for the future. It means we are to simply immerse our will, our plans, our hopes in the wisdom of His love. As we do so the Holy Spirit then can lead and prepare us for that which God alone knows will lie ahead. Today, then, we pray, "Here I am Lord. I come to do Your will." We then trust God to immerse our will in His where He will nurture and guide our hopes and faith to the fullness of His love for all eternity.

This brings us to the present. God, eternal, calls us to be His eternally. To be immersed in the mercy and hope of Christ forever we must live with Him in the present. Today, Christ calls and speaks to all who seek Him. Today we are sought by the Crucified to live in hIs Real Presence, nourished by His sacred Body and Blood. For all the Confirmed Christ seeks to remind and renew our immersion in His Holy Spirit. For those preparing for that holy immersion Christ will be drawing you closer to fill you with His Spirit and power. Today Christ longs to here us say to Him: " Her I am Lord, I come to do your will."

May Christ immerse our past in mercy and forgiveness, our future in His hope and courage and today in His Spirit of Holy love. And for all eternity may we be immersed in God.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Baptism of our Lord

Cyber-version my homily for the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord 2011

The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord brings to the close of the Season of Christmas. As a part of the broader Epiphany manifestation of God's Presence and Love it bridges the birth and early life of Jesus into the time of His public ministry. Christ's baptism is reported in all four Gospels. Mark and Luke share brief accounts of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. John provide's perhaps the most detailed of insights. This year our Gospel account comes from Matthew's witness and addresses one of the oldest challenges about our Lord's baptism.

Why was Jesus baptized in the first place? If as God's only begotten Son without any stain of sin (Original or committed) why did Jesus even have to be baptized? John the Baptist himself struggled with this as he tries to prevent our Lord from this humbling step. As he tells Jesus: “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” John recognizes the sinless, holy Love of God Present in Jesus. We, as Catholics affirm in our Christian faith the reality of original sin and of the need of our shared fallen humanity to receive the grace and mercy of God through this Sacrament. But...Why, Jesus?

Baptism is indeed the first sacred act, the first Sacrament, given by God to bring to us the saving graces of our Savior. This receiving the solution of sin is indeed the heart of of this holy step. But it is also the first step by which we share with God (and the world) our faith and our love for Him. As St. Peter would write in his first letter it is an answer of a good conscience toward God. It is a sacred, precious step of faith into the holy, grace-filled embrace of God the Father. It is what should be the first Yes! to God's will in our life. Baptism is a public entrance into the Kingdom, the family of God.

As followers of Christ, whether we enter the holy waters of baptism through the faith of our parents (as did the household of Cornelius, and many others in the early Church) or through our own volition as a matter of personal conscience we are taking a holy step of love and faith. It is the first step by which the faithful enter into their holy Communion with the Body of Christ.

We cannot see how or where this step may lead, but with Christ we seek to say: "Yes. Thy will be done"
Sharing these holy waters with Jesus we seek to enter into and receive share the Cross of His Love, and even in our struggles to share His sufferings that we, through and with Him may know the joy of His resurrection.
Our faith then can lead us to know the healing embrace from the wounds of our fallen nature, the heartbreak of our sins, into His merciful eternal embrace.

Why was Jesus baptized? To show us the way, to take our hands and lead us to His Father's mercy and love. Today as we listen to Him, as we receive prepare to receive His Sacred Body & Blood, may we say Yes Lord, I trust you, I'll follow you."