Sunday, July 12, 2020

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME JULY 12, 2020 ST AUSTIN, AUSTIN TX


FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME   JULY 12, 2020  ST AUSTIN, AUSTIN TX

        Today I would like to focus on our second reading from the 8th chapter of St Paul’s Letter to the Romans. 
        Paul, per usual, makes a pretty bold claim: “I consider the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”     I consider the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”
        Paul is certainly bold and dramatic.  Never boring.  And always a little ambiguous. 
        Our translation renders Paul’s statement as I consider the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.  The old New American Bible, and the Greek study bible give Paul’s statement as “compared to the glory to be revealed in us.”  And the NRSV puts it as “compared to the glory to be revealed to us.” 
        So take your pick:  glory revealed for us, or in us, or to us?  Maybe St Paul meant all of these, and doesn’t want to be pinned down on just one of any of these.  I think Paul was a broad vision kind of guy. 
        In any case, what are the “sufferings of the present time” that we are experiencing?   Well, isolation.  Anyone here feeling a little isolated?
Also, fear, / boredom, / worry, / stress, / loneliness, / apathy,
restlessness, maybe some resentment, some envy, some self-pity?   Any of you experiencing this??    I am. 
        We all know, all too well, the “sufferings of the present time”.   But what about the glory to be revealed in us?   That is somehow much harder to recognize, to identify, to see.  But it is there in the glory of patience, of peace, of hope, of steadfastness, of concern for others, of generosity, of more patience, of good humor, of prayerfulness, of humility, of faithfulness, and of still more patience. 
        The glory to be revealed in us is happening day by day in ways that are not spectacular, showy, flash-bang riveting, but rather a glory that is simple, peaceful, often quiet, even ordinary and commonplace: but truly and fully glory none-the-less.   This is our glory now, and later it will be revealed in us.
        But then St Paul jumps to something that is not ordinary or common, but quite spectacular:  he states: “For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, … in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.“  
        That is quite a bold, indeed mind-blowing, assertion.  Paul is talking about all of creation.  That means not only Austin and Texas and this planet we inhabit, nor only our solar system, nor only the millions and millions of stars and planets that make up our galaxy, but billions of galaxies with super-massive black holes, quasars, clumps of anti-matter, dark matter, dark energy, and God knows what else that we have not even so far dreamed of, all this, is longing to “share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.“   Talk about mind-boggling! 
        “We know,” St Paul states, “that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” 
        All creation is groaning in labor pains.  What an evocative image!  All of creation, all of evolution is a birthing process.   Something is coming to birth in the Holy Spirit.  And “we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for … the redemption of our bodies.” 
        //  St. Paul in this beautiful and powerful passage that we have as our readings today, takes our rather dull and hum-drum daily experience and inflates it into this cosmic vision of God’s plan to redeem all of creation, all of everything.  Wow!

And that is why he can assure us: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.”
God bless! 
 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Fr. Chuck's Column, July 25, 2020


Happy Independence Day! I hope we all are celebrating this special holiday all weekend.
More than fireworks and watermelon, this Fourth of July is a special time to reflect on, and be recommitted to, the virtue of patriotism. Patriotism is a love of country and your fellow countrymen, sincerely wanting your country to be the best it can be.
The opposite of the virtue of patriotism is nationalism, which is the vice that says ‘my country right or wrong,’ denying the true kinship of all peoples.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), # 1939, we read of the principal of Human Solidarity. It states: “The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of ‘friendship’ or ‘social charity,’ is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.
The CCC then quotes Pope Pius XII: “An error, today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity.”
Sadly, though Pope Pius XII stated this back in October 1939, it remains a serious problem for the world today.
I firmly believe that the best way to fight against a narrow and demeaning nationalism is to promote a healthy and authentic patriotism. We do have much to give thanks for in this nation. We also have very much to work yet to do in terms of race relations, social and economic justice, fairness before the law, equal opportunities to education and health care, and so many other important and basic issues. We do have our work cut out for us.
So as you celebrate the nation’s birthday this weekend, I urge you to pray for our country, and re-commit yourself to working to make the United States of America the best country it can be, a positive and up-lifting example to all the world of liberty and justice FOR ALL. Happy Independence Day! Stay safe!


Monday, June 29, 2020

Fr. Chuck's Column, June 21, 2020

Happy Fathers’ Day to all Father’s, God Fathers and father figures! Your service is difficult but essential. Thank you and may God the Father of us all bless you abundantly.
Being a father in this society and time is very difficult. Roles in families have been changing, and we are in the process of creating new ones. The situation is confusing, and it is easy to make a mistake.
There is a crisis in the state of fatherhood in our society. So many children grow up without a father, usually to their detriment. Fa-thers are very, very important. So important that we even call God “Our Father” as Jesus taught us.
Fathers neither need nor want ties, golf clubs, or other presents. Fathers want for us to tell them “Thank You!” They want to know that their hard work at fatherhood is appreciated. They want us to forgive their mistakes, and to appreciate the efforts that they have made. Happy Fathers Day to all you fathers out there!
Happy Birthday to St. John the Baptist, which is celebrated this coming Wednesday, June 24. This also means that it is only six months to CHRISTMAS!!! With the corona virus still raging, the economy in flux, and an election year to boot this will be a unique Christmas celebration!
Finally, this Father’s Day, June 21, also happens to be my own earthly Dad’s 99th Birthday! Please