PASTOR’S CORNER SEPT 27, 2011
BLESSING OF ALL CREATURES – LARGE AND SMALL, TUESDAY AT 5PM, FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH
This weekend we celebrate Respect Life Sunday, the theme is: I came so that all might have life and have it to the full. To paraphrase our Bishops:
Today, popular culture promotes a dangerous myth: it exalts the freedom and glamour of the rich and famous whose public lives we know are superficial and whose private lives feature a succession of brief and broken relationships. And yet don’t we often feel like we want to walk in their shoes, even for just a few minutes?
According to this myth, money equals freedom. It makes us free to sample from the whole rich smorgasbord of consumer delights. We are encouraged to be constantly entertained by new places and new experiences, the latest music or latest video games. For too many acquaintances take the place of friends and they pass in and out of their lives. They rarely have the time to know and live deeply, to know the longings of their hearts, the goodness of their souls. Life becomes empty rather than full as Jesus offered.
Sucked into this lifestyle we know that when people make demands on our freedom, we can choose to ignore or even eliminate them from our self-centered lives. Our culture gives us “permission” to turn our back on an ill-timed baby, a neglected spouse or a parent in a nursing home who pleads for a visit. But money can’t buy us love. And neither power nor freedom can bring us the one thing humans need to thrive: We are all created to love and be loved. God has given us a nature that is partly spiritual – an intellect, the ability to know right from wrong, the free will to choose how to act, and the capacity to know and love him. This is the reason Jesus gave us the “beatitudes”.
Respect Life Sunday reminds us that every person bears God’s image. No one is outside His circle of Love. Although it seems a paradox, the greater the sacrifices made out of love, the greater is our joy and peace, the “fuller, more human” we become. When we step up the many challenges that seem to take away our freedom, God can stretch our hearts and fill them to overflowing. With hearts so transformed, we become living witnesses to the meaning of Jesus’ mission: I came that all might have life, and have it to the full!
Next time you stretch, ask God to stretch you and show you what true freedom is!!