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Fr Bob Writes – July 2015

Last Sunday, we had the joy at St Philip’s of celebrating the 68th wedding anniversary of a couple from the parish. Intriguingly enough, this celebration came in the same week as the Supreme Court of the United States of America released a landmark ruling that said that same -sex marriage would be constitutional nationwide.

In so doing, the Supreme Court changed the legal meaning of marriage, rejecting the universal meaning of marriage that has prevailed for millennia in favour of the novel idea that two men or two women can marry each other. Said Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, for the 5-4 majority: “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation>’

Although the Supreme Court emphasized that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned,” the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called the decision “a tragic error,” going on to say that “it is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage” while Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, N.Y. wrote “Marriage is the lifelong exclusive union of one man and one woman, a font of unitive life and love as well as the foundation of a stable family and society.”

Our readings for this Sunday’s Mass remind us of the reality that, for those who are striving to remain faithful to God and His commandments, persecution and rejection will inevitably follow.  The prophet Ezekiel is told in our first reading that the people he will be preaching to are “impudent and stubborn…a rebellious people.” The psalmist laments that he has received his fill of “the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.”  And Jesus remarks in our gospel that “a prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Our society is gradually taking leave of the Judea-Christian foundation which formed its ethical backbone and opting for a neo-pagan lifestyle which advocates an anarchist approach to moral principles. Inevitably, we, as faithful Christians, will find ourselves subject to more and more criticism and attack for holding to a biblical moral stance. The readings for this Sunday remind us that this is nothing new, and that at these times, God tells us that “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.

I wish you a joyful and re-creating Summertime!!