In the first reading, we heard the prophet cry out: “Violence! Ruin!”
With Habbakuk, we ask: Why?
Why can we never see the end of terror and conflict?
Why are people so cruel to one another?
“Write down the vision,” the Lord answers:
“The vision still has its time” to be fulfilled: “Wait for it.”
What’s the vision? Well, it’s God’s Vision—
as opposed to the alternative, which might be called,
“Doing it our way, without God.”
There are some messages you and I offer the world,
as latter day Habbakuks,
that seems so very strange to our world:
Such as protecting every unborn child;
Practicing radical forgiveness;
And keeping intimate acts between couples open to the gift of life,
which means, no contraception.
But there’s Vision at work here—wait for it.
As you can guess, I’m going to deal with sensitive topics.
I want to be clear; but also delicate.
If your or I go out at night, and we gaze at the stars,
are we not filled with awe?
Surely God has some design and purpose in it all.
Who can doubt this?
That Divine purpose is not only written in the stars,
but even moreso in ourselves.
One reason we Catholics cannot agree
with our culture’s values about marital intimacy
is because those values obscure that higher purpose.
You and I are made in the image and likeness of God:
and when a man and woman come together,
they are never more like God—because in that very moment,
they have the capacity to do what otherwise only God can do:
create new life.
The problem with artificial means of family planning
is they redesign God’s design.
God’s plan is that the love-making act is also a life-capable act.
Natural Family Planning respects this.
But the mindset embracing artificial means
is that procreation isn’t a gift but a problem to overcome.
As a priest, I am entrusted with an awesome power:
I offer the Holy Mass.
Through this sinner that I am,
Christ makes his saving sacrifice present,
and nourishes us all with his true and real Body and Blood.
That awesome power and gift is not mine to control or redesign.
I have to be under God’s authority in this or I can do a lot of harm.
Well, as human beings, the life-creating part of us
is similarly an awesome power and gift.
And likewise, terrible consequences follow when we abuse this gift.
That’s why you and I are stewards of the gift of life, not masters.
This design is why marriage is only a man and a woman;
because only that is a true “one flesh” union,
a union that overflows into new life.
The issue of two men or two women is not “love.”
There are never any limits on love, rightly understood.
The issue is the right use of our bodies; respecting what they are for.
In the 21st century, we want what we want, here and now.
We want radical autonomy.
It is so seductive and appealing, but in the long run, it doesn’t work.
You and I were not made for radical autonomy.
Note how the conflict has moved past Catholic morality,
to contest the most manifest facts of biology itself.
Yes, our Vision seems so out of step, and many –
even some priests and bishops -- advocate abandoning it.
But, wait for it, it will have its time.
Has rejecting God’s plan for chastity and family – is it really working?
Are children better off when their parents never marry?
When they don’t even know their parents?
Is society better off?
This is Respect Life Sunday; and you and I must continue to speak up
against the destruction of the unborn
and we must embrace mother, father and child.
Not everyone marries; not everyone has children.
But everyone, in some way, belongs to a family.
And each of us, no matter who we are, can cultivate true family values –
Meaning, we build relationships
not on the basis of what I get, but what I give.
The world’s vision that offered freedom ends up bringing despair.
We are nothing, and the world will better off without us.
God offers us a different Vision:
We are not only his image at our best,
but even when we’re broken and marred:
God so loves us so much that he gave his only Son.
Life is worth living because even at our worst, we are his beloved.
That’s our Vision. Wait for it. It will have its time.