Monday, 24 June 2013

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

1 Kings 19:16,19-21; Galatians 5:1,13-18; Luke 9:51-62

FREE TO FOLLOW: So begins the reflection provided for this week in my new St Paul's Sunday Missal. And spot on it is. I’ve always been acutely aware of the courage and freedom it takes to follow the Lord in his Church, and the obvious lack of these two graces when we dissent from the Church in some way and surrender to fads, opinions or simply to our need to be attached for some reason to the larger group of dissenters. Jesus states all too clearly: If anyone does not take up his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.

I wonder, did anyone read the article on LifeSiteNews on the internet on the 23rd April 2013. The headline read: Archbishop prays while topless gay activists shout curses and douse him with water

The photos which accompany the article are sad and yet, as images of what is in store for the whole Church, prophetic. The article reads: In an astonishing display of gentleness in the face of a vile attack, the head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, remained calmly seated with eyes closed in prayer Tuesday as four topless women attacked him with shouts and curses and doused him with water.

It’s not the first time the bishop has been attacked for standing up for the Church’s teachings on homosexuality and expressing his concern for those who live the homosexual lifestyle. The incident took place at the ULB University in Brussels where the archbishop was participating in a debate on blasphemy laws. The four women, representing the pro-abortion and homosexual group FEMEN, took to the stage where they disrobed to reveal black-painted slogans on their bare chests and backs, The women doused the archbishop with water from bottles formed in the image of the Virgin Mary.

For most of the attack, which lasted a number of minutes before the women could be forced off stage, Archbishop Leonard sat drenched with water with eyes closed in prayer.  After the ordeal, the archbishop kissed the image of the Virgin Mary on one of the water bottles that was used in the attack. Le Soir reports that one of the interveners said of the archbishop: “He was very calm and maintained a position of prayer. I have to believe he was praying for us.”

If anyone does not take up his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.

Then there is this, from the Washington Examiner: NFL champ skips WH visit because Obama said ‘God bless’ Planned Parenthood

Retired Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, who won a Super Bowl with the team last year, skipped the team’s visit to the White House due to President Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood.

“I have great respect for the office of the presidency but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood,’” Birk, a former Minnesota Viking, told a local Minnesota sports blog. “I’m very confused by [Obama's] statement, ”he explained. “”For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.” Kirk said he’s a pro-life Roman Catholic. “Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year,” he said. “I couldn't endorse that in any way.”

If anyone does not take up his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.

And then again there is this, from the Cardinal Newman Society site on the 6th June 2013.: Bishop Paprocki Faces Hostile Jesuit Alumni Group at Talk

Springfield, Ill. Bishop Thomas Paprocki faced a hostile Jesuit alumni group during a May talk on the Church's teachings on homosexuality, reports LifeSiteNews. Two thousand members of the Jesuit Alumni in Arizona - graduates of 28 Jesuit universities and 47 Jesuit high schools, now living in Arizona - sponsored the event at Phoenix's Shadow Rock United Church of Christ. It featured talks by Bishop Paprocki and dissenting New Ways Ministry leader Sister Jeannine Gramick. Bishop Paprocki defended the Church's teachings on homosexuality before a hostile crowd, and shared that his own secretary had been murdered by a homosexual activist.

During his talk, which argued in favor of traditional marriage, Bishop Paprocki received heckling and insults from the crowd. While the event was titled "Two Catholic Views on Marriage," Bishop Paprocki corrected that error.

"There is only one authentic Catholic view," said Bishop Paprocki. "There are two views being presented here tonight by two people who are baptized Catholics, but only one of those views, the one I will present, is consistent with Catholic teaching, while the other view clearly dissents from Catholic teaching."

Bishop Paprocki began by telling the crowd how his secretary, a mother of four, had been murdered by a homosexual man after she suggested that he change his lifestyle. Said Bishop Paprocki: A Google search on the Internet for the name 'Matthew Shepard' at one time produced 11,900,000 results. Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old college student who was savagely beaten to death in 1998 in Wyoming. His murder has been called a hate crime because Shepard was gay.

A similar search on the Internet for the name “Mary Stachowicz” yielded 26,800 results.  In 2002, Mary Stachowicz was also brutally murdered, but the circumstances were quite different. 

Mary, the gentle, devout 51-year-old Catholic mother of four urged her co-worker, Nicholas Gutierrez, 19, to change his gay lifestyle. Infuriated by this, as he later told police, he allegedly beat, stabbed and strangled her to death and then stuffed her mangled body in a crawl space in his apartment, located above a Chicago funeral home, where they both worked.

I know about Mary Stachowicz, not from the Internet, but personally, because Mary was my secretary at the parish where I was pastor before I was named a Bishop.

She worked part time at the funeral home and part time at the parish. One afternoon, she didn’t show up at her usual starting time. This was unusual because she was always on time. A call to the funeral home disclosed that her car was still in their parking lot and her purse with her car keys was still at her desk, but there was no sign of Mary.

As Mary’s family and friends prayed and worried about her disappearance, Gutierrez prayed with them. Three days later, her mutilated body was discovered in a crawl space in his apartment.

Both murders were senseless and brutal, and I condemn them both unequivocally. However, the fact that there are over eleven and a half million more Internet stories about Matthew Shepard than Mary Stachowicz indicates where popular sentiment lies today on the question of same-sex relationships. Shepard’s story has received such widespread attention because his homosexuality was the chief motive for his murder.

Mary’s murder was widely ignored by the media, despite the fact that she died as a martyr for her faith. "The Church’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage is Catholic because it is true, not true because it is Catholic," said Bishop Paprocki.

If anyone does not take up his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.

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