Dear Parish Family:
Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Lent. This is known by its Latin name laetare Sunday. It means “let us rejoice” The rose colored vestments, the simple flowers and more festive music today alert us to the spirit of joy that is meant to accompany us on these final weeks of Lent that lead to the full joy of Easter.
To be joyful is a good reminder. You and I can easily be distracted by the difficult things of life. When we engage to be more serious about our faith, more serious life, more serious about doing good and avoiding evil, somehow the Devil knows we are changing. He comes to try to discourage us and pull us down through lack of results, persecution from others and also the residue of our own past attempts at change that may have failed. We need so much to be reminded of our true calling and who we can be.
The Gospel today reminds us of the profound truth: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” This is the heart of the good news. It is because of love that God joins up with our broken condition and give us hope that we can truly be transformed and made well. It is not without a cost. That is why the cross is the necessary pathway to life. This next week at the daily mass we will begin to hear about the controversies that the Scribes and Pharisees will begin to accuse Jesus. They will plot and try to entrap Him. Christ’s truthfulness and clarity is obnoxious to them. We have to remember that if they did it to the Master; they will do it to any of us who wish to follow Him. This is why we must grow deeper spiritual roots during these trying times.
Last week end I spoke at all the masses in hope to alert our parish to the serious problems that the HHS mandate for a non religious exemption for insurance coverage that specifies contraception, sterilization and abortifacients for all organizations and institutions. I further explained how the February 10th “Accommodation” offered by the Obama Administration did not accommodate anything. Rather it shifted the payment to insurance companies. However, insurance companies would simply charge in other ways to cover the costs. So in effect, religious freedom is not being respected. The main point I wanted to make is that the current problem is about Religious Liberty, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. This encroachment of mandating a secular worldview morality that must be supported by a religious organization is a radical departure from the entire fabric of American life up to this point.
One of the serious issues remain that since so many people are confused by the Church’s teachings on human sexuality the current debate has shifted the focus to this being a women’s rights issue, since contraception is being viewed as a women’s right and responsibility to protect herself from unwanted pregnancy. This however is not healthcare. On the contrary this is treating well functioning organs and processes in the body that are created and designed for reproduction as a disease to be treated. There are many things that our many current plans to do not cover, such as cosmetic surgery, eye glasses, certain types of dental care. We accept the fact that not everything is subject to healthcare free co pays because the reality is we cannot afford everything for everyone and people should have choices in how they pursue caring for non essential things related to their well being: The current Mandate over reaches in several areas.
We must pray and ask God for the clarity to see these issues for what it is and how dangerous it will be for America and for our Church if this is allowed to continue unchallenged. We will do our best to keep you informed of new developments as we learn about them.
Please keep our Country in your prayers, please pray for President Obama and his administration that a new and more expansive understanding of this issue will be brought to light for the good of all.
Please come to daily mass and pray each day for strength to know and do God’s will confidence and trust and joy!
Please know of prayers and affection for all of you,
Father TimBACK TO LIST