Deacon Tom’s Homily – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017

There is a lot going on this week: we are in the middle of The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the inauguration of our 45th president of the United States this past Friday, the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision today, March for Life in Washington DC this coming Friday (as we will hear about a little later), and yesterday we hosted a Pre-Cana Day in our parish to help prepare about 20 young couples for the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church. And I think our second reading, St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, reminds us of what is expected of us in the midst of all those current events.
St. Paul was pleading with the Corinthians to agree in what they say, that there be no division, and that they be united in the same mind and the same purpose. A heartfelt urging from St. Paul for unity. In his writings, St. Paul only calls upon the name of the Lord when he had very serious counsel to offer, and he called upon the Lord in the opening sentence of this letter in todays reading. St. Paul’s way of making it clear in todays reading, that it is a very grave matter to put the unity to the Church at risk. He had groups of Christian followers in Corinth who were divided, who found themselves wanting to follow different leaders. Some to Paul, some to Cephas, some to Apollos, and some to Christ. There was a lack of unity that was tearing apart, and dividing, the early Church in Corinth, and St. Paul was speaking out against that division. The Corinthians needed to be united in who they follow. They were all Christians, all being called to follow the same Christ, the leader of their Church.
And we, as Roman Catholics, as Citizens of the United States, like those Corinthians, have many things that we should remain united on. Two very important ones are front and center right now – abortion and our president. And a third important one – marriage, is one that we are reminded of this weekend as we gathered for our Pre-Cana day yesterday. These three things – abortion, our president, and marriage – have at times caused division among some of us, but they are very important to us, and as Roman Catholics, as Americans, like those early Christians in Corinth, we must at least at some level, remain united on these.
How many times recently have you heard – he’s not our president, I didn’t vote for him, I didn’t elect him, and this past week – he is not a legitimate president. We are all Americans, all citizens of the United States, and 2 days ago, Donald Trump was inaugurated the 45th president of the United States, he is now the leader of our great country. And we, like those early Christians in Corinth, should remain united on who our leader is.
On Friday of this week, busloads of people from all over the country, including a group from our parish, will travel to Washington DC to participate in the March for Life, the pro-life rally to stand up for the unborn, to give the voiceless a voice that is heard, and to protest the Supreme Court decisions made 44 years ago today, on January 22, 1973, in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton that have come to be known as the decisions that legalized abortion. We as Roman Catholics believe that all human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception. And we, as Roman Catholics, should remain united on that belief, just like those early Christians were being called by St. Paul to be united in what they believed.
And there is that third thing I mentioned – marriage. In June 2015, the Supreme Court rendered a decision that legalized same-sex marriage. Another devastating blow to the beliefs and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic teaching that marriage is the lifelong partnership, of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman. That 2015 Supreme Court decision regarding marriage, and the decisions 44 years ago today regarding abortion, ripped a gaping hole right through the fabric of the traditional family as we knew it. At a time when people in our country, and around the world, are suffering because of the breakdown of the family; whether it is divorce, out-of-wedlock childbearing, abortion, same sex marriage; any of those things that are detrimental to the value of the traditional family as we know it, we have to remain united in our support of what we as Roman Catholics believe – that all human life is respected and protected from the moment of conception, and that marriage is the lifelong partnership between a man and a woman.
I believe there is hope for change. St. Paul worked for, and had hope, that those early Christians in Corinth would change. And we should continue to work for, and have hope, that we can bring about change. Change that will bring our laws back in line with those teachings of Christ that St. Paul was referring to, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, will have the awesome responsibility to appoint a few new justices to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, and the justices on that court, will make decisions that affect all of us, and maybe even some decisions regarding those previous rulings on abortion and marriage, that have so changed the family as we traditionally know it. Regardless of your political affiliation, and whether or not you like the man who is now our president, like St. Paul said – “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that … there be not division among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” A reminder to us, to remain united, and to pray that President Trump appoint Supreme Court justices that follow Christ’s teachings. Justices that respect life, marriage between a man and woman, and traditional family values.
In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, let’s join the churches throughout the world in prayer for Christian Unity. I think Pope Francis put it best in this his personal message to President Trump – “Upon your inauguration as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office. At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding farsighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide. Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door. With these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.” That should be our prayer too.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus began calling his Apostles and He began preaching His message of love and compassion. Pray that we, and the leaders in our country, will lead and live lives of love and compassion as Jesus taught us. And pray that we may remain united as St. Paul taught us.