In his article "Toll of Unbelief" in the magazine First Things, Dr. Brendan W. Case noted that, "...on a single weekend in June 2021, seven people died of drug overdose in Rochester, New York. On that Saturday morning, three adults were found dead on a front porch on a quiet, residential street. Inside the house were six orphaned children." The CDC estimates that 2020 saw ninety-three thousand drug overdose deaths, a 30 percent increase from 2019.
Jesus, when can we expect the Kingdom of God to come? What is this Kingdom of God that You talked about? We don’t understand it. Can we see it? Maybe we just need to look around us. People still ask that question and Jesus is still telling us that it is among us. No one will announce its coming - because it is right before your eyes.
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Our Lady said to Saint Bernadette: “I do not promise you the happiness of this world, but of the other world.” The “other world”, the “lasting world”. Through the pure trust and faith of young and sickly Bernadette, Our Lady opened a miraculous healing spring in Lourdes where thousands of people have been cured, yet Bernadette remained sickly until her death at only 35 years old.
Tomorrow, we will baptize baby Wyatt Edward. Here in my hand is an ordinary acorn. Within this small acorn are all the makings of a mighty oak tree. It just needs time, sunlight, water, and earth to grow gradually into a mighty oak. What has happened here in the Northeast of the United States in the last few days? Strong winds and rains have wreaked havoc upon homes and roadways with uprooting trees and snapping branches and causing hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses to lose power. I hope you notice, very few oak trees have been toppled.
In a homily I gave earlier in the week I mentioned that sometimes commercials come to mind when I begin to think about a homily. Well today when St. Paul was telling some Romans not to let sin into their lives, I thought of a commercial that features creepy crawly creatures that delight in having free range over us until one spray and they are gone. What would it be like if we could do this with sin? But it is not that easy.
Saint Paul has an urgent message for the Christian community in Rome: the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. The revelation of God to us - creation, covenants, the Incarnation of Jesus, the passion and resurrection of Jesus, the founding of the Church - is fantastic news. It is a single story of redemption, with the goal of rescuing and saving all of humanity.