15 MARCH 2009

My Father's House / Culture of Death

       For those of you who are familiar with my family this may not come as a surprise but I am the oldest of my mother and father’s six children. Up to now in my ministry as a Permanent Deacon I have not really talked much about my family and how we were raised. I have on occasion mentioned my father in previous homilies, but I don’t feel I have the luxury of talking about my family experiences as much as Father Bob does because his family is 250 miles away and Father Dan’s family is 60 miles away. Most of my family is close to home, so I have to be careful as to what I might say.

       I do feel comfortable though talking a little bit about growing up in “MY FATHER’S HOUSE”. Now it goes with out saying in this day and age that it is also my mother’s house. If we had done something wrong Mom would just say wait until your father comes home. Honestly we used to live in fear of our fathers punishment. We did not like to make him mad when he came home from work because Mom left the discipline to Dad. I can remember the 3 of us older boys collaborating on stories such as how the lamp got broke or how the hole appeared in the bathroom door, all of this under the roof of “My Father’s House”. We tried to pan these stories off as accidents or whatever, because they happened during a fight between two of the three of us, or maybe all three of us were involved, I can’t quite remember. We certainly lived in fear of what punishment might receive when dad came home, to his house. Once again we did not want to incur the anger of our father.

       In today’s Gospel reading Jesus is somewhat upset as to how the temple is being used. He says “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” The passage says he made a whip out of cords and drove all the merchants and moneychangers out of His Father’s house. Now with a whip in hand I can not imagine that he politely asked these people to leave. It says he “drove them all out of the temple area.”

       With wording such as this it indicates that Jesus may have showed more of His Human nature that I feel we rarely experience in the Gospels. Of course we know Him as a caring loving and giving sign of God’s love in His Son, but He also walked this land with our brothers and sisters teaching the faith years ago as one of us. In our liturgy here today we celebrate the mystery of His Divinity and the suffering He shared with us as a human, and for all humanity. This account of Jesus reaction in the temple and the time he snapped at Peter to “get behind me Satan”, when Peter answered a question incorrectly that Jesus asked him, are examples of the human side of Jesus. So Jesus on these two different occasions loses his temper to some extent. At the very least he is upset and at the most he really lets loose with his anger.

       So having contemplated all week on Jesus temperament and what he might have been going through with his reactions, it caused me to reflect on how Jesus might react to what has gone on in our nation these past few weeks. How would Jesus react to our new president and his administration when it comes to Pro-Life issues? One of the first acts he did, upon being sworn in, was to rescind the Mexico City Agreement which now allows federal funds (our tax dollars) to be spent to help fund abortions outside our country. This money will be used also to promote abortion and overturn pro-life laws in pro-life nations such as Ireland and Poland.

       If that wasn’t bad enough just this past week he (our President) has signed legislation to allow federal funding (our tax dollars) to allow embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). As the Church clearly states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2274) “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being..” So we believe that the embryo, the smallest form of life, is LIFE, and for scientist to experiment with this the smallest form, the tiniest form of life, is morally wrong.

       It is morally wrong because they have to destroy life to conduct their studies in Embryonic Stem Cell Research. We believe that ESCR is morally wrong and not permissible. Not one cure has been known to come from ESCR. By using our tax dollars for ESCR we are taking money away from adult stem cell research, which is permissible. Many cures have come from adult stem cell research. ESCR which may have questionable results, and is morally incompatible with the Catholic Church’s teachings, just drains funding for adult stem cell research which has a record of cures for many diseases. The Catechism also states (2319) “Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of the living and holy God.”

       And also this week our newly elected President is directing the department of Health and Human Services to begin overturning the Conscience Provider Clause in its regulations. What this will do is eliminate the protection that professional health care providers have, to refuse to perform abortions, when it goes against their Christian and moral beliefs. This would also affect pharmacists who object to filling birth control prescriptions on the same Christian and moral grounds. These professionals could conceivably be convicted of a crime for refusing to do something that goes against their moral conscience and religious beliefs. These rules would also force our Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and other procedures that go against our beliefs.

       The culture of death just continues to grow with this administration. The pro-choice group certainly has a stronghold in our society. We must do all we can to let our elected officials know that we object in the strongest way possible to these changes being promoted by the pro-choice supporters. Let us continue to pray for our elected officials to enact rules, regulations and laws that are morally acceptable to the way we as Catholic Christians believe. And let us also pray for a conversion of their hearts.

       I would like to close today with this quote.

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church…must take up.”

       This prophetic quote comes to us from Karol Cardinal Wotyla, to the U.S. Bishops, two years before he became Pope John Paul II.

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