Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reason and Religion: "Now Let's Get This Straight"

Readings for September 30, 2012, 26th Sunday in Ordinary time 2012:

26th Sunday in Ordinary time 2012

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
September 30, 2012

A little girl was set in a corner to contemplate her misdeeds. After some time, she gets up and goes back to her mother with this big smile on her face and mother asks her if she's going to be good now? The little girl answers by saying, "I've been talking to God."

Mother asked, "what did God say?"

"He said that you, mommy, should learn to put up with me!"

Really! How often do we do exactly the same thing with God: we don't want to give up our misdeeds but we really want God to put-up with us.

There are three truths that I want you to keep in mind as you listen to the words of my homily this afternoon/morning.

First: keep in mind that all actions have a consequence. Or you might say that every action has a reaction.

Two: Every word means something.

Three: Every sin hurts someone! Every sin is an abomination before God!

You heard the gospel reading for today and you may be wondering how literal we are to take the these readings. We nevertheless should come away with the reality that sin is a serious matter before God.

I was reading some time ago of the recent gallop poll indicating that 80% of Americans believe in God. And nearly as many believe that Jesus is God's son. And yet, only 40% believe that religion is important in life.

Now let's get this straight, we believe that there is a personal God who created us and reigns over us.

And we believe that Jesus is His very own Son and yet we do not take the words of Jesus seriously?

We do not feel that these words apply to us?

His words are not really important?

I'm not certain that this is very wise approach to life, what do you think?

I read recently of an account of our soldiers liberating the extermination camp at Dachau at the end of WW II. The horror of which I will not repeat here today, remembering a neighbor lady who would say to her husband, who love to tell stories, "but Hobert: there are children present!"

Sin upon sin that calls and pleads before the throne of God for justice.

Story upon story recalls the sin of man that hurt the innocent.

The story of two ministers who became close friends to the point where they minister together in the little church and even lived together in the same house. One night the two ministers with the one little son went to the store to get goodies for the families.

They never arrived home. A young man who should not have been driving a car because his license was revoked and he had forged insurance papers. His misdeeds racked up 18 pages of moving violations and yet he was driving again.

Driving 60-70 miles an hour in a 35 mile zone he veered off and hit the car in which the two ministers and the little boy were in, head-on.

All the police could say when they went to their home to announce the incident, the accident, whatever you want to call it: 'the little boy lives.' Our sins hurt. Whether small or great, our sin hurt one another.

You'll remember here locally, of our two firemen who died in the Noah's Ark fire. I remember being at a prayer meeting one night shortly after and one of the ladies, remarked, well this must be God's will.

I don't remember exactly why I blew up, other then that to think that this was God's will was very offensive to me. I asked to speak to the group and this is what I said, "I do not believe that this is God's will because it is not God's will that anyone should die, but that because sin entered the world we all must die."

Some time later we find out that this fire was set, someone's sin took the life of two innocent firemen. Sin hurts!

Here's the story that is almost beyond belief. A very small country in Africa had five airfields. Only one was paved, and because of that unpaved runway a man named Glenn would practice driving balls. He was simply practicing driving the ball but he did hit a birdie in a practice drive, a little birdie.

He struck a passing seagull in midair. The unconscious gull subsequently fell in the open cockpit of a French built Mirage fighter plane which was taxing on the runway. The gull landed on the pilot.

The bird regain consciousness and began flapping wildly, which startled the pilot: as you might imagine. The pilot lost control and crashed into four other Mirage fighter jets setting on the tarmac. The pilot was okay, and gull was able to leave the cock-pit before impact, but the entire fighter defense force of the nation was completely destroyed.

I could tell you story after story of similar situations. Maybe they'll help us all to understand that life sometimes works that way particularly when it comes to harboring sin in our life? Those simple vices like greed and envy and lust and sloth and anger can very quickly get out of hand. And sometimes the consequences of a sinful action are far out of proportion to the original action.

I had wanted to spend more time on the revelation of Pope Leo the 13th and his asking of us to pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, but time will not permit. With what's going on in our world we surely need a revival of the prayer to St. Michael. So look at the back of your missalette, in the upper right corner, and say with me the prayer to St. Michael.
"St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls, Amen."
You have to wonder after hearing the story of the little girl, if we really are very much like this little girl wanting to have our own way and trying to convince others that this is God's way as well.

There is one thing I can tell you for sure, and that is God is not out to punish us, but there is a point at which, God allows us to have our own way and that in it self is punishment enough. We praise you Lord, we Bless you Lord, we Worship You, we give You all Honor and Glory, Amen

'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.

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