This coming weekend, in Dioceses around the world, Pope Francis is gathering Catholic families and leaders to reflect on the family in the Church, especially the domestic family at home, as the means of growing in holiness for parents, children and grandparents. There are many challenges facing every family today in America and around the world.
A newly planted garden is a kind of rebirth of the earth – an exercise in stewardship – a small celebrative space where creation thrives. We planted our garden a few days ago. The seedlings appear so fragile, so vulnerable to wind and rain. We hope they will flourish. We watch the growth and enjoy.
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Today's gospel challenges us to go beyond culture wars and politics, to go beyond using the tools of violence and revenge to much more powerful weapons of holiness, silence, and prayer. It challenges us to rise to a much higher level: to recognize that there is a battle being waged about the very nature, dignity and purpose of marriage, an institution from God meant to bring people to God; an institution that God entrusted to us as the highway to salvation, that Saint Paul likens to the marriage between Christ and His Church.
So now at Mass these days, as we leave Easter behind and get into Ordinary time, we are hearing the Sermon on the Mount. What’s going on these texts?
When our children were little, they often had the opportunity to “help” in the kitchen preparing meals or baking desserts. Kitchen activity involved specialized tools and appropriate clothing. The children put on aprons to shield from whatever ingredients were at hand. It could be a bit of an adventure. The apron was part of the job, a way of “getting into” the joy. We dress for the work to which we have committed ourselves. In a sense, we “put on” the task.
Yesterday, in his homily, Father Willy spoke about the joy of the Ascension. When Jesus parted from them and was taken up to heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Father Willy gave us four reasons why they were not sad. This confidence gave them the joy, the strength, the courage, and the boldness to proclaim Christ risen.