Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The sun is shining!

Today looks as if it will be glorious.  Finally stopped raining.  The forecast for the weekend is fine: Sunny.  Temps in the 50's.  Less wind.  Hope to get out early Saturday AM to shoot some photos.  Sunday is first communion in the parish.  

Attached are two photos and a homily for yesterday's Memorial of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More.  

Memorial of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More
22 June 2011

What does it cost to take a stand for one’s faith? 
What does it cost to go against the court of public opinion? 
What does it cost to believe? 

It costs a lot. 

Today we celebrate the memorial of two great English martyrs who died because they held to the principles of their faith:  Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More were both martyred in 1535.  Their deaths were ordered by King Henry VIII because they opposed his plan to name himself head of the church so that he could divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn.  Of course, we know that Henry went on to marry as many times as Elizabeth Taylor thereby making a mockery of the sacrament.  But, that is a different homily.

Both men had the courage of their convictions.  They stood alone in defying the king.  Fisher was the only bishop to speak out against the king’s plan.  But he did not criticize those bishops who lacked the courage to speak out.  Thomas More, who had held the highest legal post in England, would not budge from his principles.  He bore no ill will toward the judges who condemned him to death.  Neither man wavered in his beliefs.  Both died for them.   

The courage of these two great saints should be a model for us when we have to speak out against the abuses of our age.   We don’t face martyrdom in quite the same way.  We face something we may dread more.  Criticism.  We face being considered hopelessly “behind the times.”  We face ostracism or exclusion because of our beliefs.

Confucius described “the rectification of names.”  One explanation of this key concept of Chinese philosophy notes that the corruption of society begins with the failure to call things by their proper names… and its reconstruction begins with reattaching words to real things and precise concepts.  Thus we must ask, is it women’s health care or abortion?  Is it death with dignity or killing a sick old man?  Is it just a little affair or adultery?  We cannot afford euphemisms that deny the reality of sin.  We cannot bear the cost of words that normalize wrong action. 

John Fisher and Thomas More died because they called the king’s actions what they were.  We should expect no less of ourselves.  We should expect no less of our Church.  
The first photo is St. Ignatius Church in Adelaide early in the morning.  Despite the appearance of the sky it did not rain.  The other is a shop window down the street from the parish here in Port Lincoln.  I liked the way the sun hit the blue glass balls. 

Busy day coming.  I'll concelebrate a funeral Mass later today, meet with a few people,  and prepare some homilies for tomorrow and the Saturday vigil Mass. 
+Fr. Jack

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