Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I was happily surprised to see an article in the Macon Telegraph extolling the virtues of the family meal. The author said that research has shown that family meals curb delinquency and help create a sense of family unity. Someone told me that at his family table there was a rule: only one conversation at a time. Breaking bread means sharing our lives.
I love all people, all except the guy who slowed me down on the golf course, or the woman who didn't use her blinker when she turned left, or my child who asked me for the 20th time can he buy that piece of candy. As Linus told Charlie Brown, "I love mankind, it's people I can't stand." The commandment is a call to love everyone; no one is excluded in this all encompassing love. Our prayers of the faithful are general intercessions, for all the sick, for those in war, for elected leaders, but it remains for us to put meat and bones on these persons. How does it look in the concrete- this universal love? If it is a mere feeling, a diffuse love, an inconsequential humanism then it has little to do with Judeao/Christianity faith. Neither in the first reading nor in the Gospel does it say love all people. For that matter, nowhere in scripture does it talk like that. But rather it is always specific, "my neighbor whose cloak I took as pledge, the widow and the orphan, the alien, those most unlovable, even our enemy.
In today's Gospel Jesus says to repay to God what belongs to God. We are blessed by God and receive many things from God. The Lord has blessed us with various talents that we use to the glory of God. Whether it is helping those who are sick in medical careers, teaching others, protecting others as police officers, firefighters, military personnel, or by parenting the children the Lord has blessed you with. There are countless ways that we use the talents God has gifted to us. We repay God by using these gifts to help others and glorify God.
Underlying our second reading today is that while in prison Paul has received a monetary gift from the Christian community at Philippi. In other places Paul says that he will not accept pay for his ministry, perhaps so as not to be associated with others who exacted pay for their teaching and preaching. Paul was a tent maker and said he would pay his own way. However, he did accept this gift from the Philippians because he considered this community as his partners in the Gospel.
Today we celebrate Respect Life Sunday. The Respect Life program begins anew each year on this Sunday, the first Sunday of October. This program is sponsored by the US Council of Catholic Bishops. The purpose of this program is to educate us concerning the numerous human life issues that we face each day.