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Monday, June 29, 2015

How Desperate Are We for God?

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 28, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

How desperate are we for God? 

In today’s Gospel passage (Mark 5:21-43),we hear of a series of healings by Our Lord.

We first hear of a man named Jairus who approaches Jesus and begs Him to heal his daughter who is dying. He falls at the feet of Jesus and cries out,
“My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” As Jesus goes to heal the girl, we then hear of a woman who is suffering from hemorrhages. She had suffered for a long time, and the doctors could not help her. She had spent all her money! She heard about Jesus and desperately went to Him for healing!

My brothers and sisters, in each incident in today’s Gospel the persons were desperate
Fr. John Paul Shea
for the healing power of Jesus. They were desperate for the intervention of the Lord in their life situation, and they begged the Lord for help.

It is when we also turn to the Lord in our need for Him that He acts in our lives. But, Our Lord does not want us to wait until we are facing a life crisis before we come to Him. He wants us to be desperate for Him now. He wants us to live our lives for Him.

When we live for Christ we are given grace to help us prepare for future struggles… Each one of us will face struggles in life. Many of us have faced major struggles already. Wherever we are at in our lives at this time, today’s Gospel calls us to turn to the Lord and beg for His help and mercy!

So many people today live their lives in misery because they do not turn to the Lord. So many today wander around each day with no hope. We harm ourselves. We misuse our bodies and our sexuality… Some get hooked on drugs… Others get taken up with other wrong behaviors. It is often not until we hit rock bottom in our destructive behaviors that we realize our need for God. But it is when we acknowledge our need for Him and beg for His help that He comes to our aid.

We are reminded in today’s Gospel that we need to come to our Lord in faith. We must trust that He will provide for our needs. When the woman in today’s Gospel approaches Jesus and falls down before Him He says,
“Daughter, your faith has saved you.”

If we want the Lord to work in our lives, we must come to Him in faith.

So let us ask ourselves, “Where is our faith today?” Do we trust in our Lord? Do we submit ourselves to His will in our lives even though we do not see Him face to face?

The woman in today’s Gospel simply wanted to touch the cloak of Jesus. She said,
“If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” My brothers and sisters, as Catholics we don’t simply
touch a piece of our Lord’s clothing. We receive Him into our very bodies through the Eucharist! Do we come to the Eucharist with passion and devotion in our hearts knowing Who it is we are receiving? Do we strive to receive our Lord worthily in the Eucharist by following the teachings of Our Lord’s Church?

We live in a world today that is filled with lax Catholics. Only 36 percent of Catholics here in the United States attend Mass regularly, and many Catholics who attend church still do not follow Church teachings… Ireland, which is supposed to be a Catholic nation, has just voted for same sex marriage. A nation of Catholics has voted for a law that is against God’s laws.

Now, since two days ago, we have same sex marriage here in the United States as law of the land. Now that same sex marriage is part of the United States Constitution, this decision of our courts will test the faith of every Catholic at some point in the not distant future because the devil wants to destroy marriage. As Pope Francis taught while serving as Archbishop in Argentina: "Same-sex marriage is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is a move of the ‘father of lies’ who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."

My brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel calls us to be on fire for our faith! Our Lord wants us to be desperate for Him. He wants us to be passionate for His truth!

We are living in a critical times right now… both in our Church and in our world. For the devil is in full force striving to deceive souls! God does not want lax Catholics. In fact, in the Book of Revelation our Lord says that we must be either hot or cold in our faith. But if we are lukewarm He will spit us out His mouth (Rev. 3:16).

As Catholics we have a choice to live our lives for Christ through His Church and His teachings or to live for the world which is passing away.

As you know Pope Francis just came out with an encyclical on the environment where he reminds us of the desperate need to take care of the earth because the earth itself is
“crying out” for justice. Yes, God wants us to take care of the earth. But what is most important is the salvation of souls.

Ultimately, this earth is being renewed both spiritually and physically. This world of sin is passing away, and God will make a new earth for those who are found worthy. This is why Our Lord Jesus has come into our world. He has come to save us from a world that is perishing. This is why our Lord commissioned His disciples to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins!

If we want to know what taking place in the future of the world we live in today, all we need to do is look in the Book of Revelation.

Or we simply listen to the words of Jesus Himself who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
What we await is a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no disregard for the earth. There will be no more war. No ISIS. No terrorism. No abortion. No pornography. No adultery. No ‘so called’ same sex ‘marriage.’ No crooked politicians… No violence. No pain…None of this stuff! For the meek and humble shall inherit the earth.

The only thing that is going to save our souls from the death of this world is conversion of

heart. The only person who is going to bring healing to our souls is Our Lord Jesus Christ. But we must come to Him. We must be desperate for Him. We must beg Him for healing. When we come to Him with a humble and contrite heart, He is always there to help us.

Did you enjoy this sermon? There are more!  Climb Aboard the Ark of Our Salvation!     

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Same Sex "Marriage:" Another Chapter in Grimm's Fairy Tales

"Today the Supreme Court is Wrong Again!” warns Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky

by Susan Fox

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex “marriage” in a decision called Obergefell v. Hodges on Black Friday June 26, 2015.

It’s another chapter in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Chastity remains a virtue and God made them male and female. (Gen 5:2, Mark 10:6) Fairy Tale Writers on the Supreme Court cannot change reality although they are creating a hostile living environment for believing Christians and innocent children. Any civil law that contradicts Natural Law causes injustice. It never fixes anything.

“Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, adding that forcing the states to license same-sex “marriage” is a tragic error that will harm the most vulnerable among us.

He went on to say, “Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail.”

And guess what papal encyclical he quotes to prove his point? Laudato Si, the much maligned environmental scribbling from Pope Francis I!

“The unique meaning of marriage as the
Pope Francis' "integral ecology" includes marriage
between one man and one woman.
union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote,” Archbishop Kutz said. 

Environmentalists, you can’t embrace homosexual “marriage,” and expect Catholics to think you actually love the earth! Tree-hugging heterosexuals, you can’t use contraception and expect us to believe you respect the environment. Contraceptive hormones appear increasingly in our drinking water causing fish populations to die in three short generations while people drinking hormone-laced water have unexplained plummeting sperm counts, soaring incidences of testicular cancer, infertility and childhood gender confusion.

The Catholic Church encourages every person -- whether they experience same-sex or opposite-sex attractions -- to live chastely, and in marriage to be fruitful. And with the recent publication of Laudato Si, we now know this is good for the environment.

While bathing the White House in rainbow colors  Friday night, U.S. President Barack Obama applauded the Supreme Court decision saying the government was
White House bathed in Rainbow Colors on Friday night
committed to “equality and diversity.” He subtly suggested that those who have embraced the idea of same-sex unions should “reach back and help others join them.”

“Shifts in hearts and minds is possible,” he said. Conservative commentators are taking this to mean, “We need to help people overcome their religious beliefs” on the issue of same-sex “marriage.” 

Obama’s speech before Notre Dame University’s graduating class of 2009 contained the same subtle hint that there was only one right side to the abortion question. While complementing the youth present for their pro-life values, which he opposes, he reminded them that they could become a “crossroads,” a person of faith who admits doubt. “Remember, too, that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt.”

"What difference does it make (why 4 Americans were
killed in Benghazi?)"-Hillary Clinton 1/23/2013 
U.S. Presidential Hopeful Hillary Clinton is not as subtle. She has said that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” in order to protect access to abortion. What hubris! What makes her think she CAN think her way out of a paper bag?  

Abortion and same sex “marriage” have now both been legalized through tyrannical judicial fiat in the United States. Both so-called “laws” need to be resisted in every setting in the United States – abortion mills, hospitals, marriage tribunals, notary public, licensing offices, wedding florists, bakeries, photographers, churches and all public media. The law won’t go into effect without the cooperation of U.S. Citizens. Don't cooperate.

Good Catholics actually don’t have a choice. “Human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law. But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence,” wrote the prophet Pope Saint John Paul II in the Gospel of Life concerning legal abortion and euthanasia.

But same sex marriage is contrary to right reason as well from the simple fact that same sex relations are not structurally complementary, and cannot naturally produce children. “There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection,” Pope John Paul II admonished us.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron along with Vatican advisor Edward Peters say that
Detroit Archbishops Allen Vigneron
Catholics who promote same sex "marriage" should not receive Holy Communion. The 
Archbishop told the Detroit Free Press Sunday that Catholics who receive Communion while advocating gay "marriage" would "logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury." About 30 other U.S. bishops have said that pro-abortion or pro-gay "marriage" Catholics should not present themselves for communion.

“Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home,” Archbishop Kurtz said. See: A Child’s Right to Mom and Dad: Why Kids of Gays Oppose Gay Adoption 

Pope Francis spoke about the same matter on April 8: “Children also pay the price for immature unions and irresponsible separations: they are the first victims; they suffer the outcome of a culture of exaggerated individual rights, and then the children become prematurely precocious. They often absorb the violence they are not able to “ward off” and before the very eyes of adults are forced to grow accustomed to degradation.”

A cursory reading of Jephthah’s Daughters:
Innocent Casualties in the War for Family “Equality,” demonstrates that parental chastity is essential for healthy human development, and a child should not be taken from his natural parents to satisfy the hunger of a same-sex couple for parenthood. Jephthat’s Daughters Co-Author Rivka Edelman, raised by a female same-sex couple, said, “Children are not a right.” Because of their difficult upbringing, Edelman – along with numerous other adult children of same sex couples – oppose same-sex “marriage” which comes with the right to same-sex adoption and surrogacy. The Catholic Church would add, “Children are a gift to marriage.”

However, many people, who self-identify as homosexual, do not understand this viewpoint. Why can’t two people who love each other get married and have children? They have created new hashtags on Twitter to celebrate the mindless Obergefell v. Hodges decision: #LoveWins, #LoveisLove, #IDo and #June26.  

They see the matter simply as an injustice: Opposite-sex attracted couples can marry. Why can’t same-sex couples? Opposite-sex attracted couples can naturally have children. People who self-identify as homosexual must have the same right to children even though they are involved in a biologically fruitless activity. They look at the Church’s refusal to bless same-sex unions as a form of hatred.

I tweeted the opinion of Dissenting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the Obergefell v. Hodges decision represents a “threat to democracy” and nothing but “judicial Putsch” – a violent and underhanded attempt to overthrow our government. And one man tweeted back that Justice Scalia “hated gays.”

This response makes sense if you understand that many confuse their activity with their identity. With respect to homosexuality, they often believe they were “born that way,” “can’t change,” and “I’m gay.” The Catholic Church encourages us instead to find our identity in Jesus Christ, or at the very least in our own personhood, i.e. I’m not “straight.” I am a child of God.  I am a person.

“This is quite possibly one of the most difficult topics for people to understand,” said “Andrew” in
With Open Hearts published by Pursuit of Truth Ministries. (With Open Hearts is approved both by the local ordinary and by Courage, an international apostolate of the Catholic Church, which ministers to persons with same-sex attractions and their families.)

“Many of us at one point struggled with understanding why the Church would ever try to prevent two people from loving each other. That is where our minds and hearts were at before we encountered Christ, who planted in our hearts an unceasing desire to grow in virtue and holiness.”

“Andrew” admits that once members of his ministry came to know Christ they “disengaged from unchaste romantic and or sexualized relationships of all types - including those with same-sex partners.”

“We share this to help people come to understand that we were motivated not out of "fear of misbehaving in the eyes of the Church" but rather because we love Jesus Christ,” Andrew said.

“With regards to same-sex marriage in particular, we again, came to realize that the Church was not inventing its own truth. Rather it was upholding objectively truths about the order of creation.”

Therefore Pursuit of Truth came to understand:

Male and Female Ideal for Fruitful Marriage

 “1. It is an objective truth that there is a particular type of union by which the intended purposes of our reproductive systems can be completely fulfilled. That is in a union between a male (XY) and a female (XX). The Church doesn't invent this.”

Chaste Living is necessary for Healthy Child Rearing

 “2. There is a particular type of union that provides the greatest potential degree of stability for child rearing, and that is a set of parents who are not damaging each other's neurochemical bonding mechanisms by having multiple partners, but who rather are enhancing their bonding to one another through the practice of chaste living. The Church doesn't invent this.”

A Female Cannot Give Perfectly What a Male Can & Vice Versa

“3. Males and females have unique gifts to offer the world - AND their children - including conditioning on how to grow relationally with others, as the brains of males and females respond differently to the same relational stimuli. That is, a female cannot perfectly give what a male can give, and a male cannot perfectly give what a female can give.”

Every Child Has the Right to a
Mother and Father

“...As well, the Church recognizes that while it takes at the very least a male and a female for there to be the structural openness to new life, it takes one male and one female, to bring about the likelihood of the most stable and well-bonded parental relationship. And because a stable and well-bonded parental relationship leads to the highest likelihood of a relationally stable environment into which a child may grow, it is this type of family structure that the Church recognizes to be most beneficial for a child. Again, the Church doesn't invent this.”

So Pope Francis and Archbishop Kurtz comments do not represent hate speech against people who have chosen to self-identify as homosexual. They did not invent the facts on which our Catholic faith is based, nor did they create the way that our bodies work. But the Supreme Court has twice now violated the U.S. Constitution and disregarded children’s rights in favor of selfish adults, both in Roe v Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.

This fact was not lost on Justice Scalia, who
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia disgusted
with same-sex "marriage" legalization
had many humorous and sarcastic comments on the idiocy of
Obergefell v. Hodges: "If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall... to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

And he also said, "Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say." Laugh Out Loud. That’s not my marriage!

Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz,
a rising star in the American Catholic Church
Archbishop Kurtz concluded his statement on the institution of marriage beautifully, “Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.”

“I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.”

“Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mary Loves A Chaste Heart

by Christopher Ziegler 

Mary loves a chaste heart—
But so often have I struggled.

A wandering mind begets temptation.
When I remove my eye from Mary,
I begin to believe I can trust myself.
Soon the cravings of sin slither from the shadows...

My memory is stained by lurid images.
These visions of lust have their own power
To bend the heart.
My urges disturb me.

They conjure uninvited thoughts.
These thoughts are not gentle.
They are not compassionate.
They are unworthy of Mary.

When I remember the love she has shown me
I am filled with shame.

The way out of temptation is humility.
Brought low by weakness,
I bow my head, clasp my hands
And call on the name of Mary.

I am bathed in peace and regain control.

I can tell her grace is at work
By the swelling of my heart.
She has proven once again 
How much she cares for me
And how much I need her care.

Without her strength of grace
I would already be dead
And my life lost forever.

Yes—Mary loves a chaste heart.
But, even more than this,
She loves a sinner in need.
Poet Christopher Ziegler
can be found on Twitter @CZWriting 
Did you enjoy this poem, Mr. Ziegler has written two others on the Blessed Mother: 
Thank You  and The Hardest Thing