Monday, August 21, 2017

Secularism and Racism




There were two major revolutions that took place at almost the exact same time: the French Revolution of 1789 and the American Revolution of 1776

BOTH revolutions had the same themes and goals, we could call them them “freedom” and “liberty”
But there was a major difference, the French Revolution was explicitly a secular one, and by secular we mean a sort of expelling of religion, a “non-religious” movement

The American Revolution, on the other hand, also seeking freedom and liberty, as is clear from even a brief reading of the documents of the founders, was a non-secular revolution.  The American Revolution was one founded on a sort of “mere Christianity”, an experiment on whether or not a country could be founded on Christian principles without having to fly a specific denominational flag.  All are created equal…endowed by their creator

Here’s the point of mentioning the two revolutions – we hear in the first reading a sort of prophecy: My house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL peoples.

ALL PEOPLES!

This is a prophecy of the Church that Christ would found on Peter.  The Church is a house of prayer for all peoples!

Christ promises (and in fact is Himself) freedom and liberty – and this promised freedom appeals to the woman in the Gospel – she senses already, even prior to the Church’s creation, that Christ brings into the lives of all people a freedom and liberty not found outside Him.

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We’ve seen a lot in the news this week about racism in our country, and the Church stands up in the strongest possible terms and says this is wrong

At the core of the Church’s teaching on how we are to engage as a population is the idea that EVERY HUMAN BEING IS MADE IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD and so there is an inherent human dignity to every person

The argument against the Church here is simple: people in the Church, people under the banner of Christ have not always honored the dignity of every human person

But the counterargument to that is “we are well aware of that, but even in the failings something is very fascinating…it is through the Church, through the Judeo-Christian tradition that we are able to most strongly CRITICIZE the failings of people from the past

Yes, women were not equal to men in 1776.  Yes slavery remained after 1776, but those injustices were rooted out precisely by a deeper reflection on the Judeo Christian principles. 

Some will say – “Look, we will acknowledge that Christianity took the ball and advanced it down the field; you all did A FEW decent things to get us here, but now we no longer need to have a society rooted in Judeo Christian principles…we are post-Christian now…we’ve moved on…we secularists will take things from here.”

That’s why the French Revolution is so important for us – because what we see when we look at the French Revolution that we did NOT see in the American Revolution is that in France, not long into the Revolution, a REALLY disturbing insanity set in, the guillotine killing thousands of people a day, a frenzied distrust of one another – the two revolutions could not have been, at the end of the day, more different. 

And in the same way, people of all political persuasion, if they lack Christ, are left to try to rely on violence to drive out the opposition.  Even the language that you hear in the rhetoric is so telling as people on both sides of the secular coin describing the other as “less than human”….the moment someone is “less than human” it becomes okay to do to them whatever you want to them.

Only Christ and His Church have the ability to unite ALL people

Those of our parish who were blessed to be on World Youth Day last summer and those of you who saw the pictures know this – as far as the eye could see there were people of every race and tribe and language nation joined in prayer, joined in candle light vigils, kneeling together in silence, receiving the same Eucharist


God’s house will be a house of prayer for all peoples.  His Church is a house of prayer for all peoples.  Trying to build a house for all peoples on any other foundation will NOT work.  Just ask any secularist that has ever tried

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Life is Worth Living!

At the foot of the Cross, Jesus entrusts Mary to John and John to Mary.

Jesus of course dies, is resurrected on Easter, and then 40 days later ascends into Heaven.

Scholars think that Mary lived another 10-20 years and then was assumed into Heaven by Her Son, which is what we celebrate today on this Feast of the Assumption.

It is this interval of time that I’d like to focus on.

Why didn’t Jesus bring Mary up to Heaven with Him?

She had no sin.  God doesn’t need errand runners, and if he desired to bring His Mother home to Heaven, why not just do it right away?

One thing that I’d like to focus on, then, is that in some mysterious way, to exist, on Planet Earth and to be here drawing breath in this moment is, for you and I and everyone else (as it was for Mary) BETTER than being in Heaven.

That seems to make no sense.  Heaven is perfect bliss, perfect happiness, no more pain or sorrw…

But Jesus left Mary here for 20 more years.

This fact speaks very powerfully to us, and I’d like to look at how.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen had a primetime television show for many years, and the show had a very interesting title: “Life Is Worth Living”.  That is certainly, on one hand, a very strange title.  It isn’t “Wheel of Fortune” or “Jeopardy”…”Life is WORTH LIVING!”

If Archbishop Sheen felt the world needed to hear that, how much more does our world need to hear this?!?!

“Life is Worth Living”

The enemies of Christ and His Church are constantly saying, in so many different ways “LIFE, at least in certain circumstances, is NOT worth living”

1)      If you are elderly and in a nursing home and your kids don’t visit you and you are sick all the time, the world tells you “life is NOT worth living.  Just kill yourself…fast forward to the bliss of Heaven”
2)      If you are a teenager and you are being bullied at school and you aren’t getting straight a’s and you aren’t going to get into the school you want to…just kill yourself…fast forward to the joy of Heaven…life is NOT worth living
3)      That baby that is going to be born with Down Syndrome…better to kill the child and let it skip straight to the joy of Heaven…life, for that particular child, is NOT worth living
4)      That baby that will be born into poverty in Africa or to that mother on drugs in New York…abortion is the merciful option…that kid’s life is NOT worth living

It is clear when we look at Today’s Feast and the fact that the Assumption was TWENTY YEARS after the Ascencsion of Jesus, what becomes crystal clear, although mysteriously so, is that in God’s mind it is in some way BETTER for us to be here on planet Earth right now, amidst the sufferings and crosses of deceased spouses, children starving, people suffering from diseases and poverty…that we be here, right now, on planet Earth, ALIVE!

It is clear that for Jesus it is His Will that right now we be here and NOT in Heaven, just as he left his Mother here for those twenty years.

For God, life is clearly WORTH living.  The question we need to constantly be asking ourselves each day is do WE think life is worth living?




I didn’t include it in my homily, but I thought I’d leave this here…the end of Uncle Walt’s best poem


“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?  
                                                        Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;  

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hypocrisy of the Modern World

- Nicholas Senz

"The Hypocrisy of Modernity"

Wearing a Cassock

An interesting article appeared recently - a lay person (in fact, I think, a non-Catholic) wore a cassock around town for a day.

He documents the experience HERE and it is well worth your time.  It is super short




Contrary to what some might think, I'm not a huge fan of the cassock in one sense.

I'm pretty introverted and like "flying under the radar" in the sense of not having people notice me.

And so, quite often, it is tempting to wear "regular clothes" because I know no one will stare at me and I can walk around undetected.


But...I also know that wearing a cassock helps people know that there are actually priests around, and I think seeing a priest is a sort of "walking homily" that gets to people and maybe even forces them to think about more eternal things


This article sums up the experience quite well

The Dictatorship of Noise