It seems like in recent weeks we have all heard our fill about the Hobby Lobby court case. And depending on who you listen to you have heard a very different story. The truth of the matter is that the owners of Hobby Lobby had a moral objection to paying for a small number of drugs that are known abortifacients. Unfortunately, far too many people use abortion as just another form of birth control. As Catholics we should commend Hobby Lobby for their moral stand against abortion. The Catholic Church also believes that abortion is wrong! And the Church takes it one step further; she teaches that any form of artificial birth control is wrong.
In today's Gospel Matthew describes the saving seed of God's good news, sown freely and indiscriminately so that anyone with ears to hear and a heart willing to understand might listen and learn the ways of God. It's a parable that many of us have heard so often and know so well, that we cease to listen, a common temptation of long-time believers.
The host we receive is unleavened and therefore does not contain anything other than flour and water. No salt, no honey wheat. It hearkens back to the unleavened bread of the exodus, when the Jews were in a hurry to leave Egypt. And yet we believe that this very stark wafer contains, rather, is the Son of God. The Christian scriptures present us with images that give us a wondrous sense of the saving power and love of the one with whom we have communion. Christ, Jesus, through the Father's love, responds completely to the most fundamental needs of human existence.
Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your generosity, for letting me into your lives and for sharing meals with me. Thank you for taking the time to teach me and to care for me and to pray for me. The past months living amongst you, your families and with your priests have reinforced my long held belief that the world is comprised of good people who regularly and readily choose to love God and neighbor. I pray that you and your families continue to love and to easily forgive and in doing so I'm convinced that you all will be blessed with many more graces.
Pentecost is the celebration of the power, life and energy the Spirit brings to the People of God, the Church. Pentecost is part of the cycle of our liturgical year. It follows Easter when Christ was raised from the dead, and the Ascension, when Jesus took his place at the Father's right hand. And from his place by the Father's side, Jesus sent out his Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit is the Advocate whom Jesus promised would remain with us, and would provide us with His continued presence.
I am thinking of an incident in recent history which points to the Spirit of Jesus' indwelling presence. When Dr. Martin Luther King and hundreds of others marched in Selma, Alabama, for civil rights, they were of course facing stiff opposition. There were police dogs and batons and high pressure hoses. None of these could stop or deter the marchers, who sang "We shall overcome". As one said later, the water hoses could not put out the fire burning within our hearts, nor could it overcome the Baptism by water and the Spirit that moved us on.
The Spirit of Jesus underlies and moves all that is good and wholesome in our hearts and world. The Spirit of Jesus moves us to prayer, to endurance, to witness and to good works. The Spirit of Jesus melts our hearts when they are frozen and heals our hearts when they are broken. The Spirits of Jesus fulfills his promise: I will not leave you orphan. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle within us the fire of your love.