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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 5 Homily Prep

Last Sunday's homily is available
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-check out this weeks LinC letter at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 on Saturday and  11:00  and 12:30 on Sunday

What, what?

 I was in the barbershop this week and the barber said "Father, a lot of my Catholic customers are unhappy with the churches response to the Supreme Court decision last week."   Since I was reclined in the chair and the barber was holding sharp objects I couldn't escape and I did not try avoid the conversation.

I thought the barber's description of the problem was interesting. He didn't say that the Catholic customers were upset with the Supreme Court decision, he said the customers were upset with the church in their response.

This Fourth of July weekend and the scripture text of this 14th Sunday of the year do seem to be a graceful coincidence and opportunity to reflect upon the mission of the church in a democratic free society.

The mission of the church is perfectly laid out for us as that of the role of "prophet". Ezekiel before him and Jesus in his home town are being witnesses to what God is doing through the church in the world. To be prophetic is to speak on behalf of the other, in this case God. As the first half of the word pro-phet is the root of our English word "proclaim".  To proclaim God's marvelous deeds is the role of Jesus and thus the church in the world.

The world to which the church is called to proclaim God's love and mercy is described in the scriptures today as one that is hostile, at least suspicious of the prophet among them.  This attitude of hostility or suspicion is one that fits our contemporary situation as Americans who breathe free.  Today's culture in America is often reminding us of the freedom OF religion in our constitution but more aggressively today a freedom FROM religion which is tragic for society.

This hostility or suspicion of religion and prophets in America today has the same effect upon God as it did in Jesus' hometown.  He could not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.  If we poll Catholics in the pew about these very difficult subjects the polling numbers tell us that the majority of Catholics have rejected the church's prophetic stance on many issues over the years.

The church has been clear and truthful in its teaching on human sexuality and marriage. The church has been brilliant and prophetic in its reflection upon he dignity of human life and persons.  I am afraid, however, that our society's desire to be free from religion has pretty much rejected this message from God. Even among our greatest Catholics.

So, Catholics today are upset with the pastors' response in the Supreme Court decision.  So what would faithful Catholics like to hear?


One Voice said...

I think that is such an interesting distinction that you point out - that Catholics are stating their upset with the Church's response - not stating their upset with the Supreme Court decision. It's a reminder to me that so often the people of the Church forget that THEY ARE a significant part of the Church. Our voices joined together with those of our religious leaders can go a long way in presenting the Church's prophetic voice to the world on issues such as same sex marriage.

And what would I hope those voices joined together would say? Most of all I would hope to hear voices filled with love and compassion for all people. The issue of same sex marriage is a difficult one because it is filled with cries of loneliness and frustration from people who are feeling unloved and unaccepted. In fact, they often times feel hated. And likewise the issue is filled with a genuine and sincere desire from many - on both "sides" of the issue - who are wanting desperately to understand God's will for us all and looking for the right moral direction.

My own voice that is joined with those compassionate Catholic voices would also echo what we heard from Bishop Walkowiak earlier in the week. Marriage is a unique relationship between man and woman, rooted in nature, that needs to be promoted and strengthened. Where would we all be if it were not for the beautiful and intimate bond between a man and a woman? Humankind would eventually cease to exist! Same sex marriage cannot fulfill that role - and therefore we recognize the marriage between man and woman as a sacred gift. Only that relationship is able to participate in the hand of our creating God in such a powerful way!

But most of all, let's join our voices in prayer for all - and recognize the good in all people. Let's pray for understanding and guidance. And let's pray that "the Church" - all of our voices joined together, no matter what our sexual orientation - finds our way in fulfilling God's will for us so that one day we may be one.

Anonymous said...

Several weeks ago while I was at morning Mass one of the priests was telling us about a Catholic Bishop (not from our Diocese) who stated that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same sex marriage than he will no longer be a part of being a witness to "the legal" aspect of marriage (which the Church does require). Which means, if a catholic man and women come to him and want to marry (which they have to "be a part of" our now "legal" definition of the marriage) he would not perform the marriage because he felt he would be saying "ok" to this new "definition" of marriage.

After Mass I just thought WOW, his decision is heavy duty proclamation of the real dignity of God's definition of Marriage.

The Bishop did state that he would bless marriages but refused to marry a man and a women because of the new legal definition of Marriage.

David Roemer said...

Reasons to Believe in Jesus

Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

by David Roemer