In our first reading today Jesus tells us, “For three crimes of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke my word.” Jesus is telling us that through all the sins we commit, he will still be there for us. Jesus goes on to say in the Gospel, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” When Jesus is talking about the dead he is talking about those who are living in their bodies, but dead in their souls. In the end it is our choice if we are to be those dead that Jesus is talking about. Jesus is there for us in the sacraments. It is our choice to follow him by going to Mass, recieving the Eucharist, and giving our sins to the Lord in Reconciliation. Do we use these great opportunities as much as we should? If not, we are at risk of becoming those that Jesus is talking about in our Gospel.
Water and the Spirit,
Second Reading from the Office
of Readings for Tuesday of the
2nd Week of Christmas
7 January 2014
The St Philip Neri maxim of the day (9/13): “Before going to confession or taking counsel with our director, it will be very useful to pray for a sincere good will to become a really holy man.”
Sound advice. Would help reduce the sense of “just going through the motions” and confessing the same darn things over and over again.
In confession, we are pledging to God our best intentions of never doing what we just confessed again. Ever.
Yes, let’s pray to be holy.
Today is the Baptism of the Lord, the final day of Christmas. (And hence, the color of the blog has just now been adjusted to reflect Ordinary Time green.)
The first reading today from Isaiah is awesome:
Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
I don’t know if I’ve ever read a better piece on the topic of gay “marriage” than Archbishop Dolan’s piece here.
The stampede is on. Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.
The media, mainly sympathetic to this rush to tamper with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good, reports annoyance on the part of some senators that those in defense of traditional marriage just don’t see the light, as we persist in opposing this enlightened, progressive, cause.
But, really, shouldn’t we be more upset – and worried – about this perilous presumption of the state to re-invent the very definition of an undeniable truth – one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and fidelity, hoping for children – that has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start?
Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.But, please, not here! Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.
Please, not here! We cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought; we acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a “right.” And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?
Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people. The Church affirms the basic human rights of gay men and women, and the state has rightly changed many laws to offer these men and women hospital visitation rights, bereavement leave, death benefits, insurance benefits, and the like. This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition. Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits: It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children. Please don’t vote to change that. If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so. This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense.
Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago. We believers worry not only about what this new intrusion will do to our common good, but also that we will be coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the newest state decree. (If you think this paranoia, just ask believers in Canada and England what’s going on there to justify our apprehensions.)
But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values.
Thank you, Archbishop Dolan. We Catholics had better know that we need to take a stand on this issue in line with the unchanging values we profess. So, too, should all Americans.
–Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB
Rector’s Conference on May 4, 2011
For whatever reason, I have lately been thinking about that horrible incident that happened in the Fall in Baghdad. Then I read Arbp. Dolan’s pastoral letter to the faithful of New York about the Sacrament of Penance.
It’s long but good.
Here, he talks about that day in Baghdad and what we might learn from it.
The Altar and the Confessional
Catholics the world over were both outraged and heartbroken by the massacre at the Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad last October. Terrorists, claiming to be part of a group called the “Islamic State of Iraq”, stormed the church during a Sunday evening Mass, and began to kill those present. Some 58 were murdered, and more than 70 injured. It reminded us that there are those so filled with hatred for Christ and His Church that they will kill Christians.
When the terrorists entered the church, Father Saad Abdal Tha’ir was offering Mass. Another priest, Father Waseem Tabeeh, came out of the confessional, and attempted to persuade the terrorists to let the people go, offering his life and that of Father Tha’ir in exchange. How courageous were these two young priests, Father Tha’ir only 32, and Father Tabeeh, 27! The killers rejected the plea for mercy, and both priests were then martyred. The last words of Father Tha’ir, who died before his own mother’s eyes, were, “Jesus, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
How can we not see here an image of the Lord’s own passion, His own words from the cross? The new martyrs of Baghdad have something to teach us about the Lord’s passion and the work of the Church. Is it not deeply moving to note that these two young priests were at the altar and the confessional at the moment of their supreme witness? The altar and the confessional are the two most important places in a priest’s life. Those two young priests died doing what every priest should live for – to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the altar, and to forgive sins in the name of Jesus in the confessional.
According to one account of the massacre in Baghdad, a voice cried out in the midst of the horror, “We die? Okay, we die. But the Cross lives!” That speaker was immediately killed.
Yes, between the altar and the confessional, amidst the blood of the martyrs, the Cross lives!