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Posts Tagged ‘Procreation’

Victory at Lepanto and the Rosary

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/10 at 12:00 AM
  • Last Tuesday the Church celebrates the victory of the Catholic naval fleet over Muslim Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. That autumn the Catholic Church and all of Europe was facing its most menacing enemy, and the very fate of Christendom was hanging in the balance.
  • Marauding Muslim Turks had been advancing from the East for several years. At this point in history they controlled most of Northern Africa and the Middle East, and the Turks had their eyes set on Venice and the whole of Europe.
  • The Catholics, led by the famous Don Juan, were seriously outnumbered. But Don Juan had something the Muslims didn’t have. He had the blessing of the pope; the help of Jesuit, Dominican and Franciscan chaplains who accompanied the fleet; the prayers of the faithful; and rosaries for all of his men going into battle.
  • Early on the morning of October 7, 1571, the battle of Lepanto began. And throughout the day, in the church of St. Mary Major in Rome, Pope Pius V prayed the Holy Rosary with the Christian faithful for the Catholic naval fleet, imploring our Lady for victory over the Turks.
  • By early afternoon the battle was over. With a loss of only 7500 men, the Catholics – against all odds – emerged victorious, and today, October 7, became known as the feast day of Our Lady of Victory. The Turks were vanquished, and Europe was saved from militant Islam.
  • Later this feast was renamed in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, as it was because of thousands of people praying the Rosary that this victory was secured. It is for this reason that the month of October is especially dedicated to the Holy Rosary.
  • Sadly, Christendom is not done fighting! More enemies abound, and we have more battles to fight today, especially against atheistic secularism. Seeking to excise all religion from public life, secularists are waging what some have described as a “war on God.”
  • At its heart this war is based upon a selfish and proud refusal to submit to a higher authority, much like the non serviam uttered by satan so long ago. Nowhere is this battle more apparent than in issues concerning marriage and the procreation of new life.
  • Not only do secularists refuse to recognize the God-given nature and purpose of marriage and the marital act, and not only do they seek to redefine marriage and the marital act according to their own selfish desires and whims, but they also want the freedom to destroy the beautiful fruit of marriage and the marital act: human life. This is perverse. This is evil!
  • Both our first reading and our Gospel today talk about marriage. Our first reading from Genesis speaks of how it is not good for man to be alone, and how a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one flesh.
  • In doing so, this passage from Genesis, which is repeated by our Gospel, provides the very foundation for the Church’s teaching on marriage and the conjugal act.
  • As Catholics we believe that marriage and the conjugal act go hand-in-hand and are not to be separated. The marital act is sacred; it’s a holy act of love. Because it is so sacred, the conjugal act is not something we can just enter into as we please and with whom we please.
  • On the contrary, it’s an action that carries serious responsibilities, and thus it should only be entered into by people who have accepted and vowed to live out these responsibilities together: namely a man and a woman who are married to each other.
  • You see, the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, and the secondary purpose of marriage is the intimate, exclusive, and indissoluble unity of the couple.
  • These fundamental purposes are most perfectly realized in the marital act. Thus, neither purpose should ever be divorced from the marital act because doing so distorts the purpose of the act and breaks down the marriage.
  • Because the primary purpose of marriage and the marital act is the procreation and education of children, we can see that in God’s design, the creation and protection of human life and the institution of marriage are inextricably bound up together.
  • Human life is meant to be created and nurtured within the context of a family, which is naturally formed through marriage. Therefore, we must do everything we can to protect the sanctity of marriage and resist anything that corrupts a traditional understanding of marriage.
  • But we have to do more than just protect the traditional understanding of marriage to protect human life. In today’s society we must also fight the very grave evil of abortion.
  • Since 1973 when abortion was legalized in our country, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the U.S., and currently 22% of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion (cf. Guttmacher Institute, August 2011 report). Truly, this is the greatest shame of our country.
  • Abortion is a very difficult issue emotionally because so many of us have been affected by it in one way or another. As a priest I’ve heard scores of confessions in which women and men have confessed to this terrible sin. The pain of this sin runs so very deep. But please know that God’s mercy runs deeper!
  • And so I must say: if you have been involved in an abortion in some way and haven’t yet confessed it, please do so. Please come to confession and receive forgiveness. If you are sorry, God will forgive you. So fear not! God wants to give you His mercy!
  • Abortion has also become a tricky political issue in our country because abortion supporters have been successful in framing this issue in terms of a woman’s right to determine if and when she will be mother, and Americans tend to place great value on personal rights.
  • Abortion supporters have also succeeded in categorizing abortion as a form of health care. But honestly I don’t care what President Obama, Hilary Clinton, Kathleen Sebellius, or any other abortion supporter say. Simple logic tells us that ripping an unborn child limb by limb from his mother’s womb is not health care!
  • Moreover, while women may have legal rights to an abortion, women do not have a moral right to kill their children. While abortion is a choice that is currently protected by US law, it is always in every circumstance a wrong choice, an evil choice, and must never be condoned.
  • Thus, abortion is something we must fight! We do this through our prayer, through our fasting, through peaceful demonstration and protest, and through voting for pro-life officials.
  • As this year is an election year, this last way of battling abortion takes on greater importance. While the Catholic Church does not explicitly tell us whom to vote for in any given election, Holy Mother Church does provide principles for us to follow in the voting booth.
  • Specifically, the Church says that when it comes to voting, we must first look to those issues that deal with that which is most important: life, specifically: abortion, same-sex unions, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia.
  • These issues are of the highest importance because they are all intrinsically evil acts, and therefore as Catholics we cannot support candidates who promote or support these evils. To do so is to be complicit in their sins.
  • Moreover, while issues such as health care, immigration reform, and the economy are important and may certainly have a moral dimension to them, they must not be accorded greater value in our decision-making than the life issues because they do not deal with intrinsic evils. They are important, but not as important as the issue of life.
  • So my brothers and sisters, I urge you to study up on the candidates and their positions. And do the right thing by voting only for the viable candidates that best protect life.
  • Let us do this so that life in all its form may be protected and defended, that evil may be exposed and eradicated, that truth and goodness be defended, and that God may be praised.
  • May our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary aid us and intercede for us in this battle for the protection of all human life.

7 October 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

St. Therese of Lisieux

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/03 at 12:00 AM

 This past week the Church celebrated the feast day of one of Her most popular saints: St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Many of us know her as the Little Flower.

 While this cloistered Carmelite lived only a short 24 years on this earth, and all of it in relative obscurity, she is perhaps one of the most well known saints of all time – and certainly one of the most important saints of modern times – and for good reason.

 In her spiritual autobiography called Story of a Soul, St. Thérèse wrote extensively on the virtue of charity and her vocation to be love in the heart of the Church.

 One of the things that the Little Flower teaches us is that the Church has a heart burning with love. This love in the heart of the Church is what moves all of her members to act.

 St. Thérèse opined that, “if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood.”

 And so we, who make up the Church, must keep the virtue of charity burning within us! Charity – love – must be the animating force that impels us as we seek to live out our lives as Christians.

 As St. Paul writes to St. Timothy in our 2nd reading, we must “stir into flame the gift of God,” which is not a “spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self‐control.”

 As many of you know, the month of October is Respect Life month. And as in years past, an ecumenical group within our city is running a 40 Days for Life Campaign, in which people gather to pray at local abortion mills in the hopes of closing them down.

 Last week I went with many of you to the Latrobe abortion mill, and unfortunately there was a very vulgar and hate‐filled woman harassing us as we prayed.

 In those moments when we come face to face with such people, it’s very easy to develop an “us vs. them” mentality. Personally, I often feel great temptations toward anger. But anger is exactly what we need to avoid!

 As I reflect more on Pope Francis’ recent interview, I wonder if this might be part of his point. In his interview the Holy Father gave us this great image of the Church as a “field hospital.” Truly, we cannot tend to the wounds of others if we are angry or hate them.

 Without a doubt we need to work for an end to abortion and other elements of the Culture of Death like same sex unions, contraception, euthanasia, etc. But as we do, we must try to avoid the polemics that lead us to demonize our opponents.

 As we listen to the evil propaganda of the supporters of the Culture of Death or have experiences with people like the hateful woman at the abortion mill, it’s easy to think that we have nothing in common with those with whom we disagree on the issues of life.

 Yet we do have something in common; something very fundamental: we are all sinners. As your pastor, this is something I pray you never lose sight of. All of us are sinners; all of us are in need of God’s mercy.

 Therefore, we must have compassion on our enemies. If we are members of the Church, then we are the doctors and nurses in the spiritual field hospital of the Church. As the Holy Father said, we must try to meet people in their woundedness.

 My experience as a priest has shown me that those who sin by participating in any way in the Culture of Death are often the most wounded people in our society.

 If you contravene the natural ordering of the marital act through sins like same sex relations or contraception, or even more egregiously, if you participate in the sin of abortion, you are sinning in a way that goes against very fundamental aspects of our human nature. At our core, we are ordered toward procreation and life. This is how God created us – and we are fearfully and wonderful made!

 When we sin against procreation or life, we become less human!

 Yet, as awful as the wounds from these sins are, my experience as a priest as also taughtme that these wounds can be healed by God’s grace – most especially the grace wereceive through the Sacraments. So we must do all we can to help people receive grace.

 When people fall into these terrible sins, the Church must be the place they turn to forhelp. She should never be an obstacle to a sinner’s healing. So we must meet people intheir woundedness with honesty and compassion – for both are necessary for healing.

 Meeting people in their woundedness does not mean excusing their sin. Our model fordealing with our fellow sinners is Jesus and His interaction with the adulterous woman.

 Jesus was compassionate and even saved her from her persecutors, but He didn’t fail to tell her to repent. He said to her, “Woman, has no one condemned you? . . . Neither do Icondemn you. But go and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:10‐11)

 This must be the role of the Church in society – and not just the priests and bishops, butall of us! We must all reach out compassionately to those enmeshed in sin, gentlytending to their wounds with the healing balm of charity and the bandages of truth.

 At the same time, we must also be that prophetic voice in the world that fearlessly and courageously speaks the truth about the inherent dignity of man and the grave evils ofthe Culture of Death – all without demonizing those caught up in the Culture of Death.

 In short we must hate the sin with a ferocious tenacity, while loving the sinner with allthe tenderness we can muster.

 Sound difficult? It is, but if our hearts are burning with charity and our minds and willsare intent on doing the will of God, then all things are possible.

 Through the intercession of St. Thérèse and especially of Our Lady, may each of ourhearts be turned into burning furnaces of charity so that we may attend generously to our fellow sinners caught up in the evil snares of the Culture of Death.

06 October 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

Major Threat to Life

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/07/19 at 12:00 AM

While there are many topics that can be included under the banner of “threats to life,” there are two right now that stand out as the most dangerous to our society: abortion and same-sex unions.

Of course when it comes to abortion, it’s very easy to see why this is a threat to life. The good news is that an increasing number of Americans believe that abortion is wrong in every circumstance, and abortions are decreasing in our country.

Some states like our own are now enacting stricter abortion laws, and many abortion mills in the U.S. are experiencing financial difficulties. These are all reasons for us to be optimistic.

But the war on abortion is far from over, and as a Pro-Life community we must keep up the pressure through programs such as 40 Days for Life and by voting only for pro-life politicians.

Why same-sex unions are a threat to life, however, is not as easy to understand. And sadly, Americans are increasingly relaxing their attitudes toward this grave evil.

Before I go any further on this topic, I want to make it absolutely clear that the Church makes a distinction between those who suffer from same-sex attraction and homosexual acts. Certainly the Church teaches us to love the sinner yet hate the sin.

Experiencing same sex attraction is a disorder, but it’s not a sin. To be sure, there are many types of disordered attractions that humanity is subject to. But acting on this disordered attraction and engaging in homosexual activity is always gravely sinful.

Same sex unions are a threat to life because they change and pervert the very act by which new life is created. And they are a threat to our society because they undermines God’s plan for the family, which is the very building block of our society.

As Catholics we know that all human life is sacred because we are created in Gods’ image and likeness, and thus the act by which life is created is also sacred and is not to be misused.

When we use our free will to misuse the gift of procreation, we rob ourselves and others of our God-given human dignity. We become less than who we are called to be.

You see, the conjugal act is sacred and holy only when directed towards its purposes established by God: first, for the procreation and education of children, and second for mutual up building in love of a married couple joined together in a permanent covenantal relationship. Any conjugal act that is not open to these two purposes is intrinsically evil.

The very first chapter of the Bibles teaches us that: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). God did not make them male and male, but male and female.

Thus, this passage teaches us that there is a necessary complementarity that must exist in the marital union, a complementarity that can only exist between a male and female.

The next verse continues: “God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply.’” Because they lack the complementarity necessary for true union, homosexual unions are not fertile and cannot multiply, and therefore they can never be open to the gift of life.

To the contrary, homosexual unions distort the marital act, destroying the procreative aspect of it as well as the unitive good, for love not rooted in Truth is not authentic love.

By legalizing same sex unions, we are not only consenting to grave sin as a society, but we are also changing the God-given nature of marriage. Salvation history teaches us that when we willfully turn away from God’s will, we set ourselves up for disaster.

Therefore, contrary to all the rhetoric we hear from the media, banning same sex unions is not a discriminatory act. It’s preventing the legalization of evil. It’s not a matter of denying someone happiness; it’s a matter of trying to save souls.

While I could talk for hours on the evils of abortion and same-sex unions, there is one evil that underlies and makes possible an acceptance of both abortion and same sex unions, and thus, it’s important to address this topic too. This root evil that has produced the rotten fruits of abortion and same sex unions is contraception.

Again, as with abortion and same sex unions, I have no intention of judging or condemning anyone who is caught up in this sin or has been in the past.

I know that many of you here right now are probably a bit uncomfortable. Well, I’ll tell you a secret: I’m uncomfortable too! Honestly, I don’t like talking about these topics. But considering the state of our society today, I can’t not talk about these things.

So I stand here today as both your spiritual father and your brother in Christ – as someone who loves you. And because I love you, I want you to have a fuller understanding of why these issues are evil so that you can make a more informed decision about them.

As I’ve said so many times before, truth is objective. It’s real and independent of us whether we like it or not. We don’t determine truth for ourselves. It simply is. And part of cooperating with God’s salvific grace is conforming our lives to Him Who is Truth!

In the parable of the landowner and tenants, Jesus tells us today of the consequences awaiting those who refuse to follow God’s will, and who instead do violence to those who represent Him: they do not inherit the Kingdom of God.

As Catholics, we are blessed that the fullness of truth has been revealed for us in Jesus Christ, who has enshrined this fullness of truth in the teachings of His Catholic Church.

As for contraception, we know that it is evil because it willfully sterilizes the marital act. By willfully eliminating the possibility of procreation, it distorts the purpose of the marital act.

By its nature marital love is meant to be fruitful and boundless. It’s like an intimate language in which spouses speak to one another and say: “I give myself to you fully.” When couples use contraception, it’s as if they are lying to each other when they engage in marital intimacy.

By contracepting we make the conjugal act something less than it was intended to be, and we take God out of the picture. This is why the Church teaches that using contraception is intrinsically evil and gravely sinful.

In essence contraception makes couples the arbiters of God’s plan for life rather than the servants of that plan. It’s an inherently selfish act and a refusal to accept the responsibilities that come with marital love. It’s a refusal of the fullness of marital love.

More than anything else, it is the widespread acceptance of contraception in western society that has led to the ill-begotten belief that the marital act can be about something other than the procreation of children. This is a terrible lie that has led to terrible consequences for us.

Pope Paul VI predicted that with the widespread use of contraception, there would be a general increase in promiscuity, adultery, and illegitimate births, as well as an increased divorce rate and the eventual acceptance and proliferation of abortion. Sadly, he was right.

This is because contraception teaches us that we can engage in the conjugal act without love and responsibility. It teaches us that we can use each other for our own gratification without consequence. This same mindset of using the conjugal act for our own selfish ends is now leading to an acceptance of same sex unions.

My brothers and sisters, look around at our society. We are drowning in an ocean of disordered sexuality. Every form of sexual perversion and impropriety is readily accepted and defended in our society as long as the people involved are consenting adults.

But we are mocking that which is sacred in God’s eyes. We mock God Himself. And it’s time that we Catholics fully embrace our faith and say “ENOUGH!” It’s high time that we rise up, speak out, and defend our society from these evils that are afflicting us.

I know that having children can be a scary proposition, and it’s often because of this that people turn to abortion and birth control. I also understand that embracing a life of celibate chastity can be lonely, which may lead those with same sex attractions to sinful unions.

But please remember that you will never find the peace and freedom we all desire apart from God’s will. And engaging in these evils is never part of God’s will for any of us.

Let us pray today for the courage not only to follow God’s will in all of these matters, but also to speak up and make these truths known

Marital Commitment

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/06/14 at 12:00 AM

• Both the reading and the Gospel today come from St. John the Beloved Disciple.  And both of these readings focus on love, reminding us that as the children of God, we are called to love one another just as God – Who Is Love Itself – has loved us.

• Indeed, love is one of those topics that we cannot over-emphasize in the Church because our Lord teaches us that the greatest commandment is to love. We are called first to love our Lord above all things, and then to love one another as we love ourselves.

• Love comes in many forms: there is the charitable love that exists between friends and neighbors, the nurturing love that exists between parents and children, the fraternal love that exists between siblings, and, of course, there is the life-giving love that exists between a man and his wife.

• While I could give homilies on any of these forms of love, I want to focus today on this last type of love: marital love, because in many ways this is the most important form of love that we exercise with one another.

• Marriage forms the basis of family life, and families are the building blocks of any human society. For better or worse, marriage is public; it’s not just a private arrangement between two people, and therefore the success or failure of a marriage has an impact on society as  a whole.

• Therefore, it’s important that we all be invested in protecting the institution of marriage, which is very sadly under attack today. It’s also important that we live out our marriages in conformity with God’s laws. But to do this, we must understand what marriage is all about.

• If you look at the documents of Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes) and Canon Law, you’ll find that marriage is the intimate, exclusive, indissoluble communion of life and love entered into by a man and woman. God designed this sacrament for the procreation and education of children and for the purpose of the spouses own good.

• “Marriage is a holy mystery, a symbol of Christ’s love for the Church.” It is a vehicle for  holiness! Marriage is not simply a social institution; it also has religious implications. Specifically, marriage is a conduit for God’s grace to flow to a couple and to their children.

• So marriage has both natural and supernatural dimensions, and both must be recognized.

• Thus, for Christians, marriages are actually triangular relationships: husband – wife – and God. All three are necessary to make a marriage work. And in living out a marriage, all three parties must be respected. All three must be willing to love.

• Furthermore, the love that is shared in a marriage is a particular type of love: a covenantal love, which requires an exchange of one’s whole self. A man gives himself fully to his wife, and a wife gives herself fully to her husband in a mutual embrace of love and fidelity.

• And this covenantal love that is shared in marriage is intimate, exclusive, indissoluble, and hopefully fruitful through a growth in holiness and the bearing and education of children.

• So the whole purpose for the covenant of marriage is growth in holiness and the bearing and education of kids. Sadly, one thing that our modern western society refuses to acknowledge is that marriage is fundamentally oriented toward the creation of life.

• We know this not just from revelation, but also from natural law. This is where Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is indispensable. Pope John Paul has taught us that our bodies are designed to be in union with another body.

• Because the male body and the female body are complementary and actually “fit” together, we know we are called – in the very depths of our being – to give ourselves fully to another and to receive another fully unto ourselves.

• But even more than that, by creating man as male and female and calling us to be one flesh, God has stamped within our bodies an image of the reality that He desires to be one flesh with us. That’s why you often hear the Church being called the Bride of Christ!

• This is because we are called to be one flesh with God, as well as with our spouses!

• This one flesh union is meant to help us grow in communion with one another and with God, and thereby grow in holiness. But it’s this one-flesh union that also brings about children.

• Because the marital act is the one way that we participate with God in creating life, we know that the marital act is sacred. And it’s from this sense of sacredness that all of the Church’s sexual teachings are derived.

• Because it is so sacred, the conjugal act is not something we can just enter into as we please and with whom we please. It’s not simple recreation.

• On the contrary, it’s an action that carries serious responsibilities, and thus it should only be entered into by people who have accepted and vowed to live out these responsibilities: namely a man and a woman who are married to each other.

• You see, the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, and the secondary purpose of marriage is the intimate, exclusive, and indissoluble unity of the couple.

• These fundamental purposes are most perfectly realized in the marital act. Thus, neither purpose should ever be divorced from the marital act because doing so distorts the purpose of the act and breaks down the marriage.

• This is why contraception is intrinsically evil and gravely sinful. Contraception and sterilization willfully undermine the marital act by suppressing or destroying one’s fertility. Contraception divorces the procreative purpose of marriage from the marital act.

• By eliminating the possibility of procreation, we severely limit the love of the act because we take away part of that gift of self that is fundamental to the act, for by its nature marital love is meant to be fruitful and boundless.

• Understanding that marriage is fundamentally oriented toward the creation of new life also helps us to understand why same-sex unions are wrong. By their very nature these types of unions can never be procreative, and therefore they can never be a true marriage.

• Because same-sex unions lack the fundamental complementarity that makes the procreative and unitive purposes of marriage possible, because same-sex unions are contrary to the natural law, and because same-sex unions close the conjugal act to life, the Church has always taught these unions are gravely sinful.

• Now I realize that the subject of same-sex unions is a very sensitive issue, and I am not here to condemn or upset anyone. I’m simply here to let you know what the Church teaches.

• Specifically, the Church is very clear that people who struggle with same-sex attraction are not to be discriminated against, but rather are to be supported, treated with compassion, and encouraged to live a life of celibacy. This is very important to remember.

• The Church condemns the sin, not the sinner. But She also recognizes and speaks the truth about the sinful nature of homosexual acts. Speaking this way is nothing more than true compassion combined with a frank recognition of the disordered nature of these acts.

• There is currently a movement in our country to legalize same-sex marriages in many states. So let’s be clear about something: the Church’s opposition to recognizing gay marriage is not a matter of the Church being prejudiced, unloving, or homophobic. It’s a matter of the Church speaking the truth. And speaking the truth is an act of love.

• The Catholic Church opposes homosexual acts because they are intrinsically disordered, and they abuse our human nature. Homosexual acts make us less than who God is calling us to be. And legalizing same-sex marriage will weaken an already damaged understanding of marriage in our society.

• In the Gospel today Jesus tells us that: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And this notion of self-sacrifice is at the very heart of marital love. In fact, by dying on the cross, Jesus shows us that sacrifice is the very essence of love.

• If we are to be truly loving, we have to die to self. There is no other way to love. And in today’s world, that often means that we must sacrifice our own feelings and desires in order to love as God calls us to love.

• As we now prepare ourselves to become one flesh with our Lord by receiving Him in the Eucharist, let us pray that all married people will grow in their sacrificial love for their spouses and children.

• And let us pray as well that all people will grow in a greater understanding and respect for the sacrament of marriage, for the good of our society, and for the good of our souls.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC

Marital Commitment by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/05/29 at 12:25 AM

• Both the second reading and the Gospel today come from St. John the Beloved Disciple.  And both of these readings focus on love, reminding us that as the children of God, we are called to love one another just as God – Who Is Love Itself – has loved us.

• Indeed, love is one of those topics that we cannot over-emphasize in the Church because our Lord teaches us that the greatest commandment is to love. We are called first to love our Lord above all things, and then to love one another as we love ourselves.

• Love comes in many forms: there is the charitable love that exists between friends and neighbors, the nurturing love that exists between parents and children, the fraternal love that exists between siblings, and, of course, there is the life-giving love that exists between a man and his wife.

• While I could give homilies on any of these forms of love, I want to focus today on this last type of love: marital love, because in many ways this is the most important form of love that we exercise with one another.

• Marriage forms the basis of family life, and families are the building blocks of any human society. For better or worse, marriage is public; it’s not just a private arrangement between two people, and therefore the success or failure of a marriage has an impact on society as  a whole.

• Therefore, it’s important that we all be invested in protecting the institution of marriage, which is very sadly under attack today. It’s also important that we live out our marriages in conformity with God’s laws. But to do this, we must understand what marriage is all about.

• If you look at the documents of Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes) and Canon Law, you’ll find that marriage is the intimate, exclusive, indissoluble communion of life and love entered into by a man and woman. God designed this sacrament for the procreation and education of children and for the purpose of the spouses own good.

Read the rest of this entry »