Monday, September 21, 2009

25th Sunday - homily

Jesus says in tonight’s Gospel that the greatest among us are those who are servants of all. Well, we need some more of you to step up in service to the rest of us. We need help mainly in the area of liturgical ministers. After Mass, we will have sign-ups for lectors, ushers and greeters, and altar servers. The Newman Center also needs help with Tuesday dinners. If you like to cook or help out in a kitchen, we could use your help on Tuesdays. So, this is a call to service. Please be generous as GW students usually are when it comes to being the servants of all.

Speaking of service, I need to serve my boss, Archbishop Wuerl. He has asked me and all of the priests of Washington to speak to you about a topic that I didn’t want to talk to you about this early in my time here. He has asked me to speak to you about marriage because there are efforts being made in D.C. to redefine marriage. I know this is a big issue around here. It is out of obedience to him and out of love for Jesus and you that I speak to you about marriage tonight especially as it relates to same-sex unions. You all have a right to hear what marriage really is; it is out of love for all of us that the Church teaches us about marriage.

When I speak to people about marriage, I usually begin with a question: who is the author of marriage? We find the answer right off the bat in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis. God is the author of marriage because when He creates the first two people – Adam and Eve – he describes them as being married. He creates them so that the two of them “become one flesh” as husband and wife. It is clear from the beginning that marriage is between a man and a woman.

When Jesus is asked about marriage in Matthew 19, he reaffirms Genesis. He reiterates that “in the beginning”, God created them “male and female” and that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (v.4-5). Jesus raised marriage to the level of a sacrament. For the past 2000 years, the Church has flushed out the Lord’s teaching on marriage more fully. She has grown in her understanding of the sanctity of marriage as well as its benefit to children. She has always known what recent research has found: that the best environment in which children are raised are with their biological mother and father.

I have deep and profound respect for people who struggle with same-sex attraction and are trying to live holiness…trying to live chastity…trying to be good Catholics. When I speak with them, I affirm them of their dignity, respect, and the great love that God and the Church has for them. I remind them that they are good and are loved.

Now, I need to use an analogy and in no way do I mean to demean these people. The analogy has to with the Eucharist. If I use potato chips and Coke in a few minutes at the Consecration instead of bread and wine, would it still be the Eucharist? No. I need to use bread and wine for the sacrament to take place. I can’t change that sacrament. In the same way, we can’t change the sacrament of marriage. The sacrament of marriage is between a man and a woman.

Finally, we most experience God’s love through married persons. Hopefully, we have had that experience through our parents – that their love reflects the love that God has for us, as Scripture says (Ephesians 5). Most people are called to be married, and this is a good thing! But, Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 19 that not all persons are called to marriage; some are called to celibacy for different reasons. But, they, too are called to reflect God’s love. Whatever our vocation is, may we bring God’s love to others. May others know that God loves them through us as we have learned His love through others. May we know God’s love and reveal His love to others this week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Concerning Confession:

Do I need to confess my less than nice thoughts and words that occurred during yesterday's Redskin game?