September 3, 2017 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 3, 2017

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

 

St. John the Baptist

On Tuesday of this past week, we celebrated the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist, and we read at Mass the Gospel describing the circumstances of his death.  Although this story is now 2,000 in the past, is still very relevant for us today.  Why?  St. John the Baptist dies as a martyr, because he is willing to stand up for the truth about marriage.  We also face this difficult situation in our world today as the culture is turning more and more away from the natural and biblical understanding of marriage.

We must hold fast to the truth about marriage because it was taught throughout the entire bible, including by Our Lord himself: ‘“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”’ (Matthew 19:4-6).

We do not have the right or power to change the definition or permanence of marriage, because marriage is not an invention of man, it is an invention of God.

That being said, we must always love and be very compassionate to those who are in an irregular marital situation.  We cannot point fingers or make condemnations.  However, compassion does not mean we must compromise the truth.

An analogy might be the way we love and show compassion to someone caught in an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  While the addiction itself is harmful and cannot be supported, we must show our undivided support and care for the person who is struggling with the addiction.  In fact, it is because we love the person that we are willing to tell them the truth about their situation, and pray and encourage them to have the strength they need to become free from the addiction.

Standing up for Jesus and the Truth he taught can sometimes be difficult.  In fact, Jesus promised us that following him would be difficult.  He said in today’s Gospel: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  Following Jesus is the most wonderful and fulfilling thing possible because it fills us with joy in this life and hope of eternal life to come, but it also requires us to also be willing to be “persecuted for the sake of righteousness”.

May we have the courage to not be afraid, but like St. John the Baptist, boldly to stand up for the truth about marriage.

You are in my daily prayers.  Please pray for me.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

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