14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
July 5, 2010
July 5, 2010
Just a few words on the readings for today and then I want to talk to you about family as it pertains to National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.
We find in our first reading from Gen: 20-32 of an account of Abraham bartering with God over the lives of the innocent of Sodom and Gomorrah. God allows this - for He trusts Abraham as Abraham trusts God. You will recall that the barter comes down to the last ten and Abraham come to know, then that God protected the innocent.
We are invited not to fear the plan of The Lord - as awesome/awful as it may seem. His plan is perfect, and He protects those who trusts Him.
Psalm 138: "Lord, on the day I called for help, You answered me." This is a psalm of thanksgiving, for the psalmist has learned to trust in the Lord. All we have to do is call upon Him. As we are aware of our need, we realize all the more that God will provide.
From the second reading we are aware that we are raised with Christ through faith in the power of God. Even when dead, in sin, He has not forgotten us, but has forgiven all our trespasses.
Even when we feel we have messed up real bad, maybe in the area of openness to life and trusting in God's plan for our marriage, the Lord comes as salvation. We are never so far removed that His power, His life, is not stronger. Let us not be afraid to let go of our old way of life, and trust Him to care for us and our needs.
Then from Luke, Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, giving us the 'Lord's prayer'. He continues to teach about perseverance in Prayer. He reminds us that our prayer is always heard and answered. Even more, He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!
It is impossible to trust without prayer. Prayer is that privileged place of openness and trust that allows true conversion to take root and grow. We can be confident that when we pray, especially as He had taught, that we are not talking to ourselves, but that He hears and answers. Really, He is waiting for us to open ourselves to Him in prayer, that He may give us the greatest good, His Holy Spirit. This is the perfect love that takes away all fear.
Now to what I really want to talk to you about: you will note that the key word of all that I have already shared with you is Trust and trust that God should give us the greatest of His Goodness.
Often I will say to young people, "I worry about you!" I do not fear the evil that could come your way but that because of lack of trust in God, that His goodness may not fill you with the fullness of His Joy and Mercy. What does that have to do with Natural Family Planning (NFP) you may ask? First of all I want to assure you that I believe and know that NFP as taught in Pre-marriage is very well done and very important. But life issues must begin long before that point, even before engagement. Of course that is were those of us who are older must be the example to the young. How do we relate to family, how do we relate to the children. Do we see them as a burden to our own wants or do we see them as a very precious gift from God. When did you ever hear of having children so as to populate Heaven? You may respond, so that is My gob? You bet it is!
When you consider the reality of eternal life and come know that you will share Heaven with the members of your family you will begin to understand how important family is here on earth. Agnes said to me days before she died that she was going to heaven to hold her baby! I have no doubt that when I join her, that is exactly what she will be doing. We lost a baby in miss-carriage, she never really got over that.
The very young must know that they are valued members of the family as preparation for the time when they too, will welcome new members into their own families. I'm not about to go into NFP, for we have people who can do a better job the I can. But what I really want to do, even impose upon you is the importance of engagement and the commitment we make when we become engaged, for this commitment has eternal consequences. When we become one flesh in marriage we are in a life long journey onto Eternal Life, that is together.
So what I want from everyone of you here is to know and to push that every couple who plan to marry to call me and make arrangements to have their engagement blessed. In other words let us all who plan for marriage get off on the right foot, so to speak. One of the questions I always ask, is it your intention to raise a Catholic Christian family? A committed YES!, gives them a whole lot to work with. A family committed to the teaching of Christ and the Church are going to make it into Eternity together. After all, isn't that what life here on earth is all about?
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.
- "Sex, the Practicing Catholic, and Vatican Roulette"
(June 5, 2010)
- "Natural Family Planning" Home Page
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops