Sunday, July 20, 2014

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2014

Last Thursday we heard the horrific news that a Malaysian Jetliner was shot out of the sky over Ukraine – a criminal act possibly perpetrated by Russian backed separatists. 298 men, women, children, infants died immediately. Around 100 passengers were researchers, those who work for the common good, trying to eradicate the HIV/AIDS virus in third world nations. Pope Francis raised his prayers to the numerous victims of the incident and for their loved ones, renewing to the parties in conflict his heartfelt appeal for peace and commitment to finding solutions with dialogue in order to prevent further loss of innocent human lives.

I have to say that it is just beyond my thinking, and my own naivety, to think – what kind of heart does one have - to randomly kill so many innocent people. But then I look at the sin of abortion in our own United States. Since the Row vs. Wade decision in 1973, nearly 56 million unborn children have been killed. That is a whole generation.

You may have seen the video recently, of Hamas terrorists exiting a tunnel in Israel, carrying all sorts of deadly weapons - being within two miles of an Israeli community. Their intention was to wreak murder and mayhem upon the Israelis. The Israelis put a stop to them in short order with a missile. Now Israel and Hamas are at war again, both causing death and destruction to the innocent on both sides.
John Paul II said; “The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail.” General Audience Wednesday 12 September 2001

Jesus comes to our aid today in three parables, parables that concern the mysteries of the Kingdom. God allows his Kingdom to exist alongside evil; God chooses to have his Kingdom grow from small beginnings, God wants us to embrace the enemy in a confrontation of love and conversion.

There was a sower who sowed only good seed in his field, but when no one was looking, during the darkness of night, an enemy sowed weeds amidst the good wheat. Once the sower found out, instead of pulling out the weeds, he decided to let the weeds and the wheat grow together, only to be separated at harvest time. God allows the good and the bad, the peacemaker and the terrorist, to live side by side. Why?  Mysterious is God’s plan. The Lord says in the Book of Isaiah “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” So where does that leave us? Two things. 1. God is patient, slow to anger; he waits for - and desires the change of our hearts, for His light shines on the good and the bad. 2. Our Lord calls us to the virtue of Temperance, a virtue of restraint, lest, in the indiscriminate destruction of the wicked, the good also will suffer, consequences we have witnessed in the indiscriminate use of weapons of mass destruction.

Jesus speaks of the Mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, that, when planted, grows to be one of the largest plants, offering security to the birds of the sky. God wants his Kingdom to grow from humble beginnings – with souls who are unguarded, open as a child is, to receive His word - and let it grow in hearts over time. Jesus own earthly ministry began with no followers. Walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Peter and his brother Andrew, casting their nets. "Come, follow me," Jesus said to them. They immediately followed Jesus - the humble beginning of Mother Church. 

During the past two weeks, St. Thomas conducted the CCD Bible Study program. Children attended classes each day, discovering the Truths of God’s Kingdom through the experience of Catholic community, prayer, the prophets, the teachings of the Church, the life of Christ and his Mother. Each child is that mustard seed - open to hear and act on God’s message. With the right nourishment, good ground for hope, each child becomes God’s instrument here on earth - growing into a great force for peace in our world. 

Finally, the Kingdom is like Yeast, mixed with the wheat flower – until all was leavened. Around the clock Satan and his minions are on the prowl, seeking to cause mayhem and destruction to all believers and the work of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

How do we defeat this evil at our side today? Do we annihilate it with direct confrontation with bullets and bombs? Sometimes there is no choice. But God calls us to try to defeat the enemy of evil by “infiltration.” God’s purpose is never to “destroy” the enemy, but to change the enemy’s heart, to convert. For God loves his enemies. 

Let us thank the Lord for the truth that he shared with us today. Let us be children of the kingdom, forces of peace, teachers of truth, openers of eyes, helping our misguided brothers and sisters out of their darkness into God’s wonderful light.

The Glory of the Gospel is that even those who are becoming sons of the evil one - can be changed into sons of the kingdom.

Deacon Brian J. Murphy

Friday, July 4, 2014

The 4th of July

John Adams by John Copley c1784

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. 

 (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby Wins Contraceptive Ruling in Supreme Court

Yesterday, Hobby Lobby won a contraceptive ruling in the Supreme Court. Thanks be to God.

Though family owned Hobby Lobby has offered various types of contraceptives in their insurance policies, there are a certain few that they would not, could not offer, because of their deeply held religious beliefs. These so called "contraceptives" could possibly destroy the life of the child in the womb. Do not be fooled, the media only uses the word "contraceptives" in their reports, not the word "abortifacient." This win for Hobby Lobby and us is just one step. We must keep praying, keep working to protect the dignity of the human person. Our religious freedom is still under attack. The Little Sisters of the Poor continue their fight against the HHS.

Let us keep in mind the words of Saint John Paul II in "Evangelium Vitae"....

"To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34).

"The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alabama Abortion Mill Closes due to Pro-Life Laws

 "Alabama Women's Center, the sole abortion clinic located in the northern part of the state in Huntsville, will voluntarily shut its doors on Friday after failing to meet requirements of the state's new abortion law, which goes into effect on July 1. Alabama Women's Center, the sole abortion clinic located in the northern part of the state in Huntsville, will voluntarily shut its doors on Friday after failing to meet requirements of the state's new abortion law, which goes into effect on July 1."

You can read the complete article at LifeNews.Com. HERE

James Henderson, executive director of Christian Coalition of Alabama, which has been protesting the clinic for the last 10 years along with other pro-life activists, told that they will have a memorial for all the babies killed at the clinic.

“We’re going to have a memorial service and remember the lives that should have been,” he said. “By reasonable estimates, there have been over 30,000 unborn babies killed at the various abortion clinics in Huntsville.

“It’s wiped out a city larger than Athens and almost as big as Madison.”

** PEOPLE >> Get involved in the PRO-LIFE movement, stop the killing. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fishing Quote of the Day

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.      Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and the March for Marriage

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who is the Archbishop of San Francisco, has been under fire recently by California politicians, most especially House Minority Leader Nancy Polosi (D), for his support for the upcoming "MARCH FOR MARRIAGE" on June 19th in Washington, DC.

The Archbishop is quoted on the CNA website saying “Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence."

God bless Archbishop Cordileone for having the courage to defend the Sacrament of Marriage. Let us support the Archbishop and the March for Marriage. If you are able, please attend in person or show support for the event through social media, i.e. Facebook and Twitter. Pray for this holy archbishop, write letters of support to him and let us follow him in his courage.

In the words of Pope Francis...

When a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God is reflected in them,” “As ‘one flesh’, they become living icons of God’s love in our world, building up the Church in unity and fidelity,” he said. “The image of God is the married couple — not just the man, not just the woman, but both.”

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

This month we commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, when more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.  We remember the heroic actions of so many - the selfless love of soldiers who sacrificed their all to protect our freedom. The writer G.K Chesterton wrote some interesting words about the soldier. He said “The true soldier fights - not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” A soldier’s story is a story of selfless love.

 I would like to share with you the story of Father Francis L. Sampson, a Catholic Priest and Chaplain, known today as the “Parachute Padre.” Father Francis was a member of the 101st Airborne Division during WW2.  He was among the many men who dropped out of planes into the dark sky of Normandy on D-Day, part of the largest air armada ever assembled. At 1:15am, June 6, 1944, when most people in German occupied Normandy were sleeping, this young Catholic chaplain made his first combat jump. Landing in a deep stream, he cut away his 120 pound pack and was dragged by the current into shallower water before he could unbuckle his chute. He then went back to the deep water, repeatedly diving to retrieve his weapons: a MASS KIT and HOLY OILS.  He then joined up with other surviving paratroopers – finding their way to a French farmhouse that was being used for soldiers severely wounded. Here Fr. Francis tended to the wounded, offered prayers, and gave last rites to the paratroopers who would soon go home to God. On the second day there, German SS troops overran the house – they dragged Fr. Francis outside - and raised their rifles to shoot him. At that moment, a German non commissioned officer stopped them.  He saluted Fr. Francis, and then showed him a religious medal hidden inside his jacket. Father Francis always said that the “universality” of the Church saved his life that day.  The Germans allowed Father to go back and tend to his wounded, which included German wounded.  After the farmhouse was retaken by the allies, Sampson heard of an American soldier whose three brothers had all been reported killed on the beaches of Normandy. He instigated the search for the fourth brother, Fritz Niland. Father Francis found him and brought him back to Utah Beach, where he was evacuated back to the States. Does that story sound familiar? It should, because it served as the plot for the movie, Saving Private Ryan, where the part of Father Sampson was played by an entire squad of rangers. After his experiences in Normandy, he took part in an airborne assault on Holland. It was there that he was seized again by the Germans, becoming a POW at Stalag 11-A, a POW camp about 50 miles south-west of Berlin. Father was the only Catholic priest among the 950 Americans in a camp that held some 26,000 prisoners of various nationalities, only 21 of whom were officers. Father was allowed to remain in the enlisted men’s prison, rather than the officer’s prison, at his own request. He had the men build a chapel in his barracks, where he held daily Mass and a non-denominational prayer service twice a week.  On Good Friday, Father Francis led the men in the Stations of the Cross, and gave an hour’s meditation on the life of Christ. On Easter Day, he joined with French, Dutch and Polish Catholic priests, who were imprisoned, to celebrate together a Solemn High Mass for several thousand prisoners. It was on this day that Father Francis recited, what he would call, his best homily. He finished with these words, “Each of us has that sacred image stamped upon his soul. Like this chapel, we are Temples of God. Now at the foot of this cross - let us renew our baptismal vows. Let us promise to shield forever His image in our hearts." 

I share this story with you because it has correlation with today’s solemnity, the “TRINITY”. 

This is a story of selfless love – of one giving all for the other. Why do we give our all for the other?  Because we are made in the “image of God.” To understand this, we have to ask ourselves the question, who is God? Is God some vague supreme being? No.  Christians rest their faith on the Doctrine of the Trinity.  God is Trinity. Three divine persons in ONE God.  This is the great mystery that is so difficult – even impossible to fully grasp.  Yet, let’s think of the Trinity as an ocean. We could never wrap our arms around an ocean, but we can enter into it.” God – The Trinity – is a communion of love. A play of lover, beloved and love. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, in the manner of love. Pope Benedict explains “God is not solitude, but perfect communion. This “communion” is a loving relationship – so God IS LOVE. “For this reason the human person, made in the image of God, realizes himself or herself in love, which is a sincere gift of self.”  You and I are made in the image of a “Supreme relationship”, made in the image of the “highest family and community”, made in the image of Love itself. We share in God’s divine power, with an intellect patterned after the intellect of God; of loving others - similar to the eternal love of God, who is the divine community of the Holy Trinity. We were made to love.

When young Father Francis climbed into that plane in England, he did not know the future – if he would live, or if he would die in France.  He would go on to serve in Korea and Vietnam. At the end of his life, he had inscribed on his tombstone “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

Fathers, today is OUR special day - we were made to love. To protect our families, to serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of our homes - to bless our children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength. Like Father Francis Sampson, who 70 years ago was called by God to risk all, we are made in the image of God – the God that "so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life."

Homily - Deacon Brian J. Murphy

 * Holy Trinity, Central Panel from the High Altar of the Trinity Church, Mosóc