Thursday, June 9, 2016

Luke, Chapter 1, verse 13:
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.

To a Pious Jew and especially a Levi priest the knowledge that God is so holy we dare not even say His name. Notice frequently in the bible the angels will use the term, “Do not be afraid”, and this is because at times we knowing our sinfulness may not feel worthy. Feeling unworthy is a tool the evil one often uses to discourage us from doing good works.

I have felt this fear of being unworthy often. In the mid-seventies while still a youth in my 20’s I was chosen to be a lay Eucharistic minister while working at the South Pole in Antarctica by the priest that had come 900 miles to bring our Lord to us catholic boys working I didn’t feel worthy; come on this is Richard you know; but the Priest convinced me that it was the only way and I did want to bring “Our Lord” to my fellow brothers in Christ.

We must remember that the evil one will sow fear in our hearts trying to convince us we are unworthy and if we listen we become like the man who out of fear buried his talent in the ground.

Amoris Lætitia[1] The Experiences and Challenges of Families-The Current Reality of the Family-(45-49)

“A great number of children are born outside of wedlock, many of whom subsequently grow up with just one of their parents or in a blended or reconstituted family. The sexual exploitation of children is yet another scandalous and perverse reality in present-day society. Societies experiencing violence due to war, terrorism or the presence of organized crime are witnessing the deterioration of the family, above all in large cities, where, on their outskirts, the so-called phenomenon of ‘street-children’ is on the rise.” The sexual abuse of children is all the more scandalous when it occurs in places where they ought to be most safe, particularly in families, schools, communities and Christian institutions.
 

Migration is another sign of the times to be faced and understood in terms of its negative effects on family life. In accompanying migrants, the Church needs a specific pastoral program addressed not only to families that migrate but also to those family members who remain behind. This pastoral activity must be implemented with due respect for their cultures, for the human and religious formation from which they come and for the spiritual richness of their rites and traditions, even by means of a specific pastoral care. Migration is particularly dramatic and devastating to families and individuals when it takes place illegally and is supported by international net­works of human trafficking. Extreme poverty and other situations of family breakdown sometimes even lead families to sell their children for prostitution or for organ trafficking. Every effort should be encouraged, even in a practical way, to assist families and Christian communities to remain in their native lands.

 Families who lovingly accept the difficult trial of a child with special needs are greatly to be admired. People with disabilities are a gift for the family and an opportunity to grow in love, mutual aid and unity.

 Most families have great respect for the elderly, surrounding them with affection and considering them a blessing. Care and concern for the final stages of life is all the more necessary today, when contemporary society attempts to remove every trace of death and dying. The elderly who are vulnerable and dependent are at times unfairly exploited simply for economic advantage. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are serious threats to families worldwide; in many countries, they have been legalized. The Church, while firmly opposing these practices, feels the need to assist families who take care of their elderly and infirm members.
 

We need to care for families living in dire poverty and that have great limitations. The problems faced by poor households are often all the more trying. For example, if a single mother has to raise a child by herself and needs to leave the child alone at home while she goes to work, the child can grow up exposed to all kinds of risks and obstacles to personal growth. In such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother Church called to show them God’s mercy.





[1] Pope Francis, Encyclical on Love.

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