Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 22, 2012 - Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

 The calling of the brothers in today’s Gospel evokes Elisha’s commissioning by the prophet Elijah
(see 1 Kings 19:19-21).

As Elijah comes upon Elisha working on his family’s farm, so Jesus sees the brothers working by the seaside. And as Elisha left his mother and father to follow Elijah, so the brothers leave their father to come after Jesus.

Jesus’ promise - to make them “fishers of men” - evokes Israel’s deepest hopes. The prophet Jeremiah announced a new exodus in which God would send “many fishermen” to restore the Israelites from exile, as once He brought them out of slavery in Egypt (see Jeremiah 16:14-16).

Jonah 3:1-5,10
Psalm 25:4-9
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20
By Jesus’ cross and resurrection, this new exodus has begun
(see Luke 9:31).
And the apostles are the first of a new people of God, the Church - a new family, based not on blood ties, but on belief in Jesus and a desire to do the Father’s will (see John 1:12-13; Matthew 12:46-50).

From now on, even our most important worldly concerns - family relations, occupations, and possessions - must be judged in light of the gospel, Paul says in today’s Epistle.

The first word of Jesus’ gospel - repent - means we must totally change our way of thinking and living, turning from evil, doing all for the love of God.

And we should be consoled by Nineveh’s repentance in today’s First Reading. Even the wicked Nineveh could repent at Jonah’s preaching. And in Jesus we have a greater than Jonah (see Matthew 12:41).

We have God come as our savior, to show sinners the way, as we sing in today’s Psalm. This should give us hope - that loved ones who remain far from God will find compassion if they turn to Him.

But we, too, must continue along the path of repentance - striving daily to pattern our lives after His.

Listen Here!


Homily for January 22, 2012

My friends, today, I ask for your prayers. I shall preach something which is difficult to say and which may be difficult to hear. Today, I am going to talk about abortion and contraception. This may cause some of you to feel uncomfortable and others to get upset yet it requires a prophet’s voice. I am encouraged by the 1st reading where Jonah’s voice of truth allowed for Conversion of the hearts of the people of Nineveh. Perhaps my simple voice will lead to the conversion of some here or in our society.

Yesterday morning, many joined together to march for life.  I was amazed to see all the young people  and all the babies. Everywhere you turned there was new life and there was vitality. Seeing all these babies, it reminded me of a time when I was in Rome. I loved looking at the babies in Rome. You see Italians aren't having children. They average 1.1 children per couple. So when I would see a baby stroller I always wanted to see what the baby looked like. I remember this one time looking into the stroller and in horror saw the ugliest baby ever. I’m serious. It was ugly. It had big teeth and a big nose. Its ears stood up and was real pointy. It was so hairy and it had long tongue. When it spoke, it said rough! It was a dog! They put a dog in a baby stroller. You see this is the secular dream. Do not get married and just be partners, not to have children but to have a couple of dogs and to seek to live a comfortable life where one would do what one would feel like. This is advertised all the time. People don't have babies so they try to make dogs into their babies.

Today, January 22, 39 years ago, the United States supreme court passed a judgement
that has caused the death of over 50 million children. 50 million children - this is twice the number that live in Texas completely wiped out. This has been a genocide on an unthinkable level. There are other areas of life that need attention as well – but none whose evil is as widespread as abortion. The bishops remind us that over 3,000 babies each day die within the womb of their mother.

This creates a great wound in the mothers of these children, those that are involved and throughout society in general. Most of these teen mothers feel forced and coerced into this. They may be scared and feel like they have no one to turn to. I remember a sign I recently saw of a young woman. The top of the sign says pregnancy. Around her head is a thought circle that says, “My mother is going to kill me.” Around the womb of the girl is another thought circle that reads, “My mother is going to kill me.” My friends, as witnesses of life we need to help those who are scared or those who are injured by abortion and help them to receive the healing they deserve. The healing and forgiveness of these wounds can be had through Jesus Christ.

We all can be forgiven. We can live in peace. This wound affects all of us. Even me: I remember when I lived in the fraternity house and one of the brother’s pressured his girlfriend to go to planned parenthood. I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I do know that she ended up having an abortion shortly after and I realized that I had missed an opportunity to intervene in someone’s life and keep them from experiencing such a serious wound in their lives. If you have a similar wound, the Church is here for you. Come to the sacrament of Confession and begin the healing if you have been affected in any way by this. Ministries in the Church like Project Rachel are there to help you heal.

Today, I just don’t want to look at our woundedness from abortion but want to go to an evil that is much more rampant in our society and is the foundation for which abortion comes. It is that of contraception.

In the supreme court case Roe vs. Wade in 1973, it was argued time and again that women needed the availability of abortion in the event that contraceptives would fail. Contraceptives created a mentality that was contrary to life. The natural result of this would lend itself to abortion. Otherwise they would have an unwanted child.

John Paul II in The Gospel of Life said, “Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected" (n. 13).

Ultimately, both abortion and contraception have the same root. It declares a subjective triumph over objective natural law. Contraception states, “I know this act is ordered towards procreation and committed union, but I don't want a baby, but I still want the fun and therefore I will put myself above natural law.” The same is true with abortion. I know that life is sacred yet I will kill the life. This same so-called “right to privacy” has been listed as a reason to allow same-sex unions to be called marriages. It the elevation of the person’s will over natural law. Once this takes root in a society, it opens the door for all sorts of evils and ultimately the destruction of society.

Mother Theresa said once that a society that begins to kill its most vulnerable, its own flesh and blood that it will rapidly and quickly cease to be civilized.

Humane Vitae mentions that this would happen when civil law detached from natural law. With this Paul VI says “Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone?” Didn’t this happen in China under their one – child policy?

This imposition is no longer seen in countries outside of the United States, but in the United States. The current administration under the leadership of the President has declared that all Church’s and religious institutions must be included in the mandatory provision of Contraception and abortion as part of their health care plans. This is the first time that the constitution has been thrown aside so to impose the contraceptive mentality and disregarded individual and communal conscience. This is evil and must be stopped.

My experience as - You are too young to have too many children.
- I love you so much that I need to protect myself. WHAT!!!

Spiritually, if one chooses to prevent conception, this ultimately renders marital sex to a commodity of pleasure where the other person is used to render pleasure to the other. And then what happens when the contraception fails. The child would be deemed us unwanted – a scourge – and must be eliminated. Children no longer are seen as a gift but they are seen as either a commodity something that I can go shopping for - think of invitro-fertilization - or a burden or even worse a disease. Since when have we as a society decided that we would provide pills to alter a normal functioning body system to “protect it” from a baby. The language itself is one of horror. This is a dark shadow of what God intended marital love to be.

God chose to enter into the life of a family. The center piece of every family is the committed love between a man or a woman. The reality is that God by entering into the womb of Mary and into the family structure with St. Joseph as the head, that he shows the great dignity of the family. Moreover when Jesus goes to the wedding feast of Cana, he is showing that the wedding is a great gift. A wedding feast is a time of joy and a time of new life. I have been blessed to go to many marriages of friends and family. Some stand out in my minds more than others. One in particular is a friend who went on a retreat the week before their marriage. Why? They understood that their marriage had a sacramental dimension. It reflects and was an image of God’s love.

We see in marriage an physical example, a physical icon of the love of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and are constantly giving themselves completely over to each other as a self gift. In marriage, the two become one. The two people who give themselves over to each other in acts of self-giving is a icon of this love. The Fruit of the Father’s love for the Son, is the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the husband’s love for the wife is a child. This icon can even be taken to be seen physically when the husband and wife whose very body is God’s image becomes one in consummation. When the couples love is Full, Faithful, Free, and Fruitful, the image of the Trinity is made manifest for the world to see. This shows forth love and life. Marital love needs to be Full, Faithful, Free, and Fruitful.

Humane Vitae (Paul VI – 1968) states, “Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God, who “is love,” the Father “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” My friends this is worth a wedding feast that spans days and years.

My brothers and sisters we are all invited to the marriage feast of the marriage between Christ and His Church. Depending on our state in life God will ask us to be faithful to living out our promises Faithfully, Fruitfully, Fully, and Freely. This is how we can come to the marriage feast clothed in charity as St. Gregory the Great says. This is how we are to ensure that we have put on the wedding garment. It is our decision. May we choose to live a life of true freedom and charity as we celebrate the marriage feast this day.

. . . . and from Facebook Apologetics

Sunday's First Reading Comes from the Prophet Jonah, and Recalls His Experiences Once in Nineveh. The Preceding Chaper of Jonah Recalls His Transport to Nineveh in the Belly of the Whale. Here's an Upbeat Song that Tells the Whole Story. Enjoy!


  1. Very good. Arguing from first principles, meeting people where there at, that's good. I wonder how it was received?

    What do you think of this? A bit different, but on the same topic:

  2. Wow! Great audio clip. Thank you!