January 24, 2010
Occasionally I find myself in a situation where I must honor the sacrament of marriage I received, before the sacrament of ordination. January 22 is Lynn’s and I‘s wedding anniversary – 44 years of shear bliss. We have both finally learned to connect the dots when we speak to each other. She says we need to feed the dog – it means if you love me feed the dog. I have been directed by a higher authority than Fr. Neil to tell a joke. There was this deacon I know who was in big trouble. He had forgotten his wedding anniversary again.
His wife told him “Tomorrow there better be something in the driveway for me, that goes zero to 200 in 2 seconds flat.” Well, the next morning the deacon’s wife found a small package in the driveway. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.
Funeral arrangements for the deacon have been set for next Saturday.
In preparation for this homily I ran across a fact I had forgotten. We have 5 grand children. Our second grand daughter is more like my wife’s sister than our grand child. Her name is Taylor Kay. They look alike and act alike. Tay Tay is a treasure. She will be ten years old in March. About five months before Taylor Kay was born a routine test indicated she had Down Syndrome or Spinal Bifida. Taylor’s mom chose life!
Abortions 3000-4000 per day!
3000 – 4000 abortions occur in our nation each day. Each day more babies are aborted than the people who died on 9/11. Abortion is a man made earth quake that destroys the spirit of life and numbs the spirit of the mother, the family and the nation. In one year 10 times more babies are aborted in America, than Haitians who died in a natural disaster. Most abortions are simply humans playing God. Jesus taught the truth will set us free!
What the heck is Freedom?
Christ came to set us free so we might have life more abundantly. Yet many question and do not recognize the treasure we are. Abortion speaks to the soul of the young — life is no longer sacred. I want us to reflect on the first reading from Nehemiah. We proclaim scripture from the ambo (pulpit) but do we hear the spirit of the message and do we allow it to penetrate hearts?
Can we open our spiritual hears and hear again for the very first time. Children are you listening? Can we connect the dots?
Ezra the priest brought the law before the people, men, women and children. He read out of the book from daybreak to midday. All the people listened.
Now ask yourself, how many here could listen attentively from daybreak to midday? What kind of circumstances would it take to create the kind of motivation necessary to enable people to do achieve this kind of attention span? They must have developed a thirst, a hunger, a longing and yearning so deep and so powerful that hearing the word of God was the only thing that could satisfy and quench the thirst and hunger of the soul of one who had been starved of spiritual nutrition for a very long time.
Are we going to have to be Up Rooted?
The people Israel had been uprooted and dragged into captivity during the Babylonian exile. Families were torn asunder. Children from parents, spouses and grand parents as well were separated. Destroy the building block of the family and you destroy the people. What could save them?
On this day, a new day, Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God interpreting it so they could understand. The people were weeping as they heard the words because they were connecting the dots. The weeping came from the recollection of the sin and the worship of a false god that lead them into exile. Simultaneously they weep for joy for they knew the only turning to the one true God could save them and set them free to reclaim the treasured of faith that would restore the family Israel.
Where Oh where is that Holy Place?
Such an event is Holy – the people Israel returned to the one true Lord and they regained their strength. The day we return to the Lord, is a Holy day, a day of rejoicing, a day to eat rich foods and drink fine wines.
During the Babylonian exile the people of Nehemiah’s time learned the lesson Paul taught to the Corinthians. All were given to drink from the same spirit. No one is left out, slave or free of the love of God. Every person has a purpose and a meaning. Those who seem weaker are all the more necessary. If one part suffers the whole body suffers.
Does our God Love us?
The question we are called to answer today is simple. Do we believe the good Lord loves us exactly as we are today in our strength and in our weakness? Are we willing to take the risk to let our God love us as we are? And are we willing to open our spiritual ears to hear the truth when it is spoken so we can connect the dots and begin to following God’s call instead of our own?
Free Will –> Liberty or Captivity?
Jesus came to give liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind. In America today, will we place ourselves in captivity and exile by worshiping a secular progressive god or be open to the words of abundant life.