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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fr. Bob Warren's Week Reflection Do Not Fear

Do Not Fear
Our gospel tells us today not to let anyone intimidate you and to not be afraid of anything. Sounds wonderful, but what is the reality? Just take a look at our world. Sometimes you just do not want to watch the news or read the paper because of the crime, the drugs, the tragedies, the anger and the hurt. Even in our families some have left the church, switched religions or just dropped out.
It seems that we are inundated with bad news as a daily diet. Our newscasts and our papers fill us with endless images of infidelity, war, torture and moral mayhem. Our movies and TV can desensitize us to violence and suffering. So often our young look on divorce as inevitable and out of wedlock births as commonplace. So much of the time, it feels like we are forced to concentrate on life's horrors.
We may want to repeat the question we find in scripture and ask Jesus, "What happened to all the good things you promised? Are you the one who is to come or should we look for another? "Didn't you tell us that we should fear nothing and that we are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows?" Jesus might reply, "You are the victims of too much bad news. Take time to look at the good news and then you will perceive the Kingdom." So, where is the good news?
Well, right now as we sit here there are countless catechists in countless parishes letting in the light of the gospel to our young. Our Catholic Schools, with great hardship, in our big cities are educating hundreds of thousands of under‑privileged children. Many of the children are non‑Catholic. For the most part, these schools are staffed by dedicated, hardworking and underpaid staff and teachers. New churches are being built, but we only read about parish closings.
People recover from addictions, accidents, illness and depression in so many Catholic institutions. Catholic Relief Services is the largest single private charitable service in the world. Every day the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are being carried out in hundreds of ways, but they never make the news. Look around at this parish ‑ the great kids, the wonderful parents and how you all simply care about each other.
We take all of these things for granted. For example ‑ I have always maintained that all parents are guaranteed Heaven. Remember there is only one place in the gospel where Jesus gives the credence of who gets to Heaven. In MT. 25, "When I was hungry, you gave me to eat. When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink. When I was ill, you visited me. As long as you did it to one of the least of my brothers or sisters, you did it to me. Enter into the joy of the Lord."
The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are built into family life by nature.
That is why I say that all parents are guaranteed heaven.
"Mom, what will I wear?", counseling the doubtful.
"Dad, will you help with my math homework?", instructing the ignorant.
The 2 am bottle, giving drink to the thirsty.
Changing diapers, clothing the naked.
Preparing meals, feeding the hungry.
The cat died, burying the dead.
"Are you still in the bathroom?", visiting the imprisoned.
And, being good parents you will say, "I have to do these things, it is my job and my duty." As if that made it less wonderful, less meritorious, less the fulfillment of Jesus' criteria for Heaven.
My point is these things go on all the time. The Kingdom of Jesus is here ‑ Goodness abounds, love is given and received, people are faithful and caring, courtesy and good deeds are commonplace. Do not let the daily diet of bad news trip you up. When we look around at a world out of control, we all have doubts at times. I guess that is one good reason why we come to church every week to recover our sense of vision, to celebrate the God we bumped into all week without knowing it, to handle the word and the bread and to see this very congregation with the new realization that such ordinary stuff as the word, the bread and wine, the people all harbor the very presence of God.
Fr. Robert Warren, S.A.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Robert Warren, S.A. Signature
Fr. Robert Warren, S.A.
Spiritual Director
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Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

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