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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Prepare the World for Repentance

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 15, 2018
Saint Charles Catholic Apache Mission Church, San Carlos, AZ

Today is another opportunity to praise God and ask for His mercy to help us live our New Life in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In today’s Gospel (Mark 6:7-13), Jesus sends out His 12 disciples. He chose the number 12 because it signifies the 12 tribes of Israel, representing the whole people of God. Our Lord's coming fulfills God's promise to the Israelites that He would visit His people and bring true and lasting peace. 

The prophets of the Old Testament were called to guide the children of Israel toward conversion of heart so that God’s people would be prepared for the fullness of the Kingdom of God through Our Lord Jesus Christ. We hear of the Prophet Amos in today’s first reading (Amos 7:12-15). He is a shepherd called by God to speak to the children of Israel.

Now, as the 12 are sent out, Our Lord calls them to speak with urgency. They were to

take no extra provisions so that they would become reliant on the power of God and be His witness.

They were called to build the early Catholic Church so that it would faithfully announce the Kingdom of God until Jesus comes again.

Our Lord had said this world is ending and a new world is coming. Therefore, repentance and conversion are to be proclaimed everywhere so all may be saved from their sins and come to live in God’s eternal Kingdom.

In today’s second reading (Ephesians 1:3-14),  we learn blessings are in store for those who 
are saved through God’s mercy. Therefore, we Christian are to live in holiness in order

to prepare to live as we will in God’s Kingdom. 

Saint Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.” He adds, “In love [God has] destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.”

In our Baptism, we receive new life where we are to live -- not according to the ways of this  world -- but as God calls us to live in accord to the favor of His will.

My brothers and sisters, God has called us to be His children by adoption through Our Lord Jesus Christ. God invites us to become part of His very self.  Let us remember what God has done for us through His Son. Jesus suffered in the flesh so that we can be reconciled to God.

We received new life in God through our Baptism, but each of us needs to persevere in the practice of our faith. God has given us the most perfect way to be forgiven through frequent confession of our sins. 

After He was raised from the dead, Our Lord breathed the Holy Spirit upon His apostles and gave them the authority to forgive sins. This authority has been passed down to every
age through the ordained priesthood. I understand we do not have regular confessions here at Saint Charles, but if you would like to have regular times for confessions maybe on a Saturday or a day that you feel would be good, I will be happy to take time each week to hear confessions. 

It is also good for us to recognize and acknowledge our own weaknesses. What sins do we struggle with? What areas of temptation lead us to hurt the Holy Spirit that we have been given in our Baptism? Maybe we struggle with anger. Maybe we struggle with drugs or addictions. Maybe we struggle with temptations of the flesh and are tempted with pornography. Whatever areas we may struggle, God wants to help us. He loves us and has chosen us. He does not want us to hurt ourselves or one another.

I have heard that the Apache people were considered warriors in their brave battles in the late 19th century. I encourage each of you and myself to be warriors today not for
The Apache Christ on the Mescalero Apache reservation.
fighting earthly wars but to be warriors for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us fight the good fight against sin with the help of God’s grace so that we may attain the gift of eternal life that Our Lord Jesus Christ paid such a dear price with His Life. 

For as Saint Paul says, it is in Our Lord Jesus Christ that we, “who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of [our] salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”

My brothers and sisters, as we come together
Fr. John Paul Shea
to celebrate the Holy Eucharist this morning, let us open our hearts to the gift of life that Our Lord Jesus has come to give all who call upon His Holy Name. For, Our Lord has not come to condemn the world because the world has already condemned itself. Our Lord has come to save us from the condemnation of this world through the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

May God bless each one of us, and may our hearts be open to His Grace and His Love. For God has chosen us! Amen.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Pro-Life Irish Grieve for their Country as Abortion Sinks Its Teeth Into Ireland

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers.(Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

By Susan Fox 

Unfortunately, those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. 

In 35 short years, the Irish people managed to forget the most important lessons of their history, which includes multiple famines, civil war, British occupation, earthquakes, religious persecution, the Easter Rising and their own missionary activities around the world on behalf of the Catholic Church. 

They forgot the value of their own lives.

This is a country blessed in Knock in 1879 with a personal and silent visitation from the Queen of Heaven, Her Son, the Lamb Slain on the Altar, St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, and St. John the Evangelist, who wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” John’s is the very heart of the gospel of light and life.

Could there be no greater scandal than what happened on May 25, 2018, when two-thirds of the Irish electorate with a historically high turnout voted to overturn the 8th Amendment, which guarantees the equal right to life of the unborn child and its mother: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

The pro-life amendment was passed 35 short years before in 1983 with a two-thirds majority when the Irish saw that U.S. citizens were stripped of their right to life by their own courts in the noxious Roe v Wade decision. With great foresight, the older Irish generation created the 8th Amendment because no court could overturn it. No elected legislature could change it. What happened to the U.S. population — dictatorship by the courts — could never occur in Ireland. 

Ironically, now the U.S. is poised to slip from the noose created by its judiciary in 1973 and back to its own pro-life roots with the appointment of Strict Constitutionalist Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court by U.S. President Donald Trump. Fully 51 percent of the U.S. population has remained pro-life through 45 years of legal abortion. And possibly 22 states are prepared to ban abortion once Kavanaugh is appointed to join the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. But the Irish now are are taking their first baby steps on the bloody road that plagued America for 45 years. 

Strangely enough the very children born and protected by the 8th Amendment refused the same rights to future generations of Irish. Bioethicists call this the loafer generation, willing to accept life from their own parents as their right but unwilling to extend that right to future generations. 

Irish exit polls suggest that there was an age divide. Voters over 55 voted overwhelmingly against abortion. Younger voters supported it. They ignorantly called  abortion a woman’s “choice” giving her control over her own body. Unfortunately, the victim of abortion is not part of the mother’s body, but has his own body. He exists for his own sake, not for the convenience of his mother. “Choice” turns human beings into cockroaches. They become pests who can be killed at will. 

“What about the wee future woman in the womb having control over her body? That is where the pro-choice, which is really pro-abort, argument falls flat every-time regarding abortion on demand,” tweeted Francis Doherty on June 20. 

I had three Irish babies. Two miscarried, one lives. Only six and eight weeks from conception, Raphael and Mary were tiny little human beings. One had my Irish husband’s face and long legs. I had my appendices out and they were delivered to my bedside. These appeared as stringy parts of my colon. I have personally witnessed that there is a vast difference between one’s own guts and one’s baby.

The pro-life minority in Ireland knew that. Many were shocked watching the coverage after the historic vote to see the young Irish voters cheering, and calling the outcome “compassionate.” But the “NO” vote quietly grieved and angrily tweeted. “We are winning the war against abortion all over the world. It’s just a backward sh_thole like Ireland that thinks it’s still 1967 (the year UK legalised and decided to pay for abortion),” tweeted pro-life Irish Patriot Donnchadh Mac an Ghoill.

“The media here in Ireland hacked the brains of 1.2 million fools into voting yes to abortion - imagine that - their brains were that soft that they let the media & @campaignforleo (Ireland’s Taoiseach— prime minister Leo Varadkar)  trick them into voting to kill innocent, frail, defenceless, happy babies,” wrote Amanda Gallagher.

My husband joked, "This is the Taoiseach"
A green spider landed on my wrist the other day. I screamed. My Irish husband joked that it was the the Taoiseach, who interfered in the Irish election to the extent that he was publicly advocating a “Yes” vote on the very day of the election.  

“The men and women of 1916 (the Easter Rising) would be hurt to the core of their beings by what has happened in Ireland (on May 25, 2018),” said Roger Buck, who has lived in Ireland for seven years.  The Easter Rising was an armed insurrection during Easter Week to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish republic. 

Maolsheachlann O’Ceallaigh of the Irish Conservative Forum, and author of "Inspiration from the Saints," added, “I’ve been gripped by grief for all the lives that will be lost. It’s like standing at the Viet Nam War Memorial
Maolsheachlann O’Ceallaigh
looking out at the rows and rows of names. You can’t take it in. This can’t just be another episode in the culture wars,” the Irishman said.

“A pro-choice speaker the day after the referendum said Ireland is still the same place it was the day before. Yes, but we didn’t realise how bad the situation was. It was beyond everyone’s worst fears.  Almost everything I loved about the Ireland of my youth is dead,” O’Ceallaigh said.

“There is a feeling that the real Ireland has been destroyed,” Buck said. “The real Ireland has been replaced by a fake Ireland. The overwhelming numbers in 1983 made the the pro-life choice to enshrine it in the constitution. That represents the real Ireland — an Ireland that has grown organically over centuries. It’s a natural Ireland that has always deeply valued Christianity. That has been replaced by a global Ireland, part of an alien ideology.” He blamed the modern media for the change in the electorate. 

Enshrine the 8th Amendment in your heart. I wanted it for my own country, the U.S.A.  Many young Irish were convinced by outside agitators like American billionaire George Soros, who funded the pro-death campaign through Amnesty Ireland,
that their law was wrong. The organisation lied to the Irish about abortion.

One young woman sincerely told me her pro-life law was wrong because a woman could die of miscarriage without a DNC and it would not be done because there was still a baby’s heartbeat. I responded, “My dear, if you have a heartbeat, you have a baby. There is no heartbeat in a miscarriage. I can personally attest to that.” In both of my miscarriages, I did not get a DNC by my own choice until the baby had been lost. But I was being cautious. I wrote a poem about the experience here:  No Death Rituals: Miscarriage Has No Funeral

I do not wish to belittle the experience of Savita Halappanavar who died in 2012 in an Irish hospital of sepsis related to a miscarriage. However, there is convincing evidence that it was medical malpractice that actually killed Savita. It’s pretty silly to cite the 8th Amendment when the woman’s water had already broken. That’s birth. She needed a DNC. Guidelines from the Irish Medical Council are perfectly clear that pregnant women must be given all necessary medical treatment to save their lives.

In the book of Deuteronomy, God gave the Israelites a choice: prosperity or destruction. Then He described the condition of the Israelites then and the Irish people now:  “Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

And how long was this blindness to last?

God said, “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until
the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” (Isaiah 6:11-13)

In America after 1973, the schools and houses were left deserted. 60.5 million Americans lost their lives to abortion. The children that survive are subject to school shootings. Then the evil fog of ignorance took the elderly too. Whole neighbourhoods disappeared in Florida.

And indeed, as soon as the 8th Amendment was pushed aside, the ax fell. The Irish Taoiseach — Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar — said Catholic hospitals will be forced to  perform abortions contrary to their conscience.

“It will not, however, be possible for publicly funded hospitals, no matter who their patron or owner is, to opt out of providing these necessary services which will be legal in this state once this legislation is passed by the Dáil and Seanad,” the predatory green arachnid with eight legs brazenly stated. “I’m happy to give you that assurance.”

“If Catholic Hospitals are to be forced to deliberately kill the unborn, they should shut down. Not hand over, not sell, shut down & demolish rather than be turned into abortion facilities,” said Declan Ganley, Irish Entrepreneur, Chairman & CEO of Rivada Networks, a leading public safety communications business, tweeting from his personal account. “There should be no cooperation with the state.” 

The web gets even stickier because the government insists pro-life doctors refer their patients to another doctor if the woman wants an abortion. Such is tantamount to approving the murder of innocents.  

“Darth” Varadkar insists on it. "But what we can’t allow is this suggestion that a GP
who does not provide the service will then refuse to refer their patient on to somebody who would. Because essentially that is the equivalent of ‘you’re on your own, love’ and we are not going to have that,” the prime minister said.

Health Minister Simon Harris, who before the election sneered at pro-life Irish and called them “cold and neglectful,” also put his two cents in. “The idea of a woman in crisis sitting in front of her doctor and her doctor refusing to refer flies in face of care and compassion. Conscientious objection, yes. No referral or information, no.” However,
doctors with a good conscience cannot provide information to a woman, assisting her in the death of her child. The same conundrum exists in Canada, which wants its doctors to refer patients for euthanasia.

“Western governments are increasingly reaching into areas which in the interests of religious freedom and the rights of conscience were long thought no business of government,” tweeted Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, adding “#Australia #Ireland #Canada #USA #UK."

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris made promises to
Irish medical students regarding conscientious objection
 that he is apparently not prepared to keep.
This edict from above has caused some medical students who voted for repeal of the 8th Amendment to rethink their decision. “Many students say that they voted Yes based on the promise he (Simon Harris) made that abortions will be illegal in the later stage of pregnancy," wrote Louis Courtney, Vice-President and Education Officer, NUI Galway Students' Union, in the Galway City Tribune. “Many students regret voting Yes and feel they were tricked into doing so by the promise made by the (Health) Minister (Simon Harris), which he doesn’t seem to be prepared to keep.” He said his fellow medical students are very concerned about whether they will be able to conscientiously object to carrying out an abortion and to object to referring a patient to another doctor who will carry out the abortion. 

The sticky web spread further when the Irish government  announced plans to introduce exclusion zones of 100 to 150 meters around its abortion clinics to prevent women in crisis pregnancies from learning of opportunities for health care, housing, jobs and clothes typically offered by committed pro-lifers.

Such a plan sparked a rebellion among Irish on Facebook. I asked my Irish friends, "Would you go to prison if the government tried to stop you from witnessing outside an abortion clinic?"

“I don’t mind going to prison,” responded Tom Moore of
Tom Moore
Tralee. “They won’t be killing no babies in Ireland,” adding that if there was evidence of vote tampering as some have claimed in the May 25 election, he wanted to know. “I would love to destroy the (current) government of Ireland.” 

The exclusion zones around abortion clinics are also present in the United Kingdom. Alina Dulgheriu, who chose to have her daughter after a pro-lifer met her on her way into an abortion clinic, is raising money to launch a legal challenge to the exclusion zone in Ealing District of West London, England.

Alina Dulgheriu & daughter, saved at the last minute
on the steps of the abortion clinic. 
“I cannot put into words the joy, the beauty and the love that my daughter has brought into my life. She simply would not be with us today if vigils had been criminalised, and I refuse to accept that other women should be denied the opportunity to receive help where they want to keep their child. I cannot imagine a society where a simple offer of help to a woman who might want to keep her child is seen as a criminal offence,” Ms Dulgheriu said. She is now part of the Be Here for Me movement, Mothers Against the Ban on Help Outside Abortion Centres.

When they can, they hold public rallies outside clinics that bring tears to my eyes. Watch this video: Pro-Choice Protestors attempt to shout down a Woman’s Heartbreaking Testimony Driving Her to Tears. With a happy young child bouncing next to her, a young African woman relates the story of how she was homeless, pregnant, and thought her only choice was abortion. “I had no hope for myself or my child.”

“I remember that day I found I was pregnant, I was telling God that all I need is a home. The answer for me (appeared)  I would be forced into killing the child.”

She met Lorraine, “a pro-life lady” at the Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic in Ealing, who told her Good Counsel Network could provide her with accommodation. “When I had that, I knew I would not abort. I thank God I did not need to do that (have an abortion).” 

“If Ealing Council bans pro-life vigils today …” At that point she dropped to the ground and began crying, “Then other women like me would be forced into that (abortion).”  

Around her, people held signs saying, “Say No to Coerced Abortion” and “Don’t Criminalise Help.” 64 percent of abortions are coerced, and the top reason for abortion is fear

Now it looks like  the same vicious web will be thrown around the abortion clinics 
in Ireland so that desperate mothers will not receive any help at the last minute. The current Irish government simply will not allow mothers any other choice but abortion.  And such is no choice at all.

"You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess." (Deuteronomy 28:62-63)

This link to a number of tweets from Dr. Collins outlines the corruption in the Irish leadership before the election. It demonstrates why the Irish are disappointed in their government. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Prophetic Call

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, July 8, 2018 
St Francis Hospital, Roslyn, New York

On this fourteenth Sunday, we rejoice in the spirit of prophecy and faithful witness to Christ. Although, the exercise of this mission does not bring us comfort, we must continue to exercise it. This is because, the grace of God is sufficient for us, and makes us strong.

As I reflected over today’s readings (Eze: 2:2-5; Ps: 123:1-2, 2, 3-4 2; Cor 12: 7-10; Mk: 6:1-6), I recalled an encounter I had with someone some time ago. After admonishing her for acting wrongly, she simply turned to me and said: “Sorry Father, do you think you can change me?" Then, she walked away.
However, after few months, she came to apologize and to thank me for helping her transform her life.

As ministers and prophets, we encounter such resistance, insults and discouragements every day. They are the icings on our cake. Yet, we are here every day: “Be ready to accept more discomfort for my sake, for the gospel and, for the good of your generation!”

Fr. Joe Mungai and his congregation in Africa
Like Ezekiel, we all have a prophetic call and mission from God. The question is, where is this mission and, how do we begin it? Quite simple! There is mission everywhere today. There is prophetic mission in our rebellious generation, in our families, in our communities, and in our streets, work places, schools, and in the world at large.

There is much rebellion in our time against God, against nature, against divine institutions (the church), and against the fabrics of our moral, social and cultural heritage. So, God speaks to us today as he spoke to Ezekiel in our first reading:
“Son of man, I am sending you… to the rebels who have turned against me.” So, we must be that voice that cries against injustice, oppression, immorality, corruption and ungodliness.

In the second reading, Paul describes his burden for the sake of the gospel. This burden was like a thorn in his flesh. For Paul, the burden includes:
“insults, hardships, persecutions, loneliness and agonies." They were
his cross as a prophet. Unfortunately, these are things we do not want to experience. This is because, we do not want any discomfort and because, we want everyone to like and, to say only good things about us.

So, even when things are going wrong under our watch and nose, we are afraid to speak out. Our attitude is that of: “Please, let the sleeping dog lie, so that I can have my peace.” I do not want to hurt anybody. I do not want to lose him or her. Unfortunately, the truth is that if you do not correct or help him or her today, tomorrow you will lose him or her forever.

God saw this same fear in Jeremiah and said to him:
“Get ready Jeremiah; go and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them or I will make you even more afraid of them” (Jer 1, 17). The truth is that these are burdens we must bear as Christians if our society must be safe. We must not be afraid because the grace of God is sufficient for us. So, if we are willing, God will fill us with his grace.

In the gospel, Jesus was filled with this grace and spoke fearlessly. Of course, he got his own share of insults. They ridiculed him, called him names like:
“The son of a mere carpenter.” They called him an illiterate, and a rebel. In spite of all these, he was not discouraged. Instead, he continued to preach and heal his generation.

We must not be afraid to carry out our prophetic ministries in spite of the odds against us. Rather, we are to bear them

patiently so that good might triumph over evil, truth over lie, light over darkness and, peace over war. “Where there is no [prophetic] vision the people perish.” (Prov 29:18). We are all called to be that visionary prophet to our ailing generation.
Peace be with you!
I wish you all a grace filled Sunday!!

May the Light of Christ who is our peace and salvation be always with you. Amen.

Fr. Joe Mungai raising money to get water to his village in Africa. Please read A Deep Down Thirst