Would you like to know how to prepare for your eternal judgment? We will all be judged. How can we prepare for that moment?
Prepare to be grateful to God for everything he has done for you.
In the Gospel, Jesus healed ten lepers. All ten were cleansed of their leprosy. Only one was grateful. Only one was saved. He was a Samaritan, a foreigner. He was cleansed of his leprosy just like the other nine. But he was grateful and returned to Jesus. His cleansing led him to faith. His faith led him to gratitude. In faith and gratitude Jesus saved him for all eternity. Would you rather be cleansed, or saved?
In the first reading, Naaman the pagan military officer comes to the prophet Elisha seeking to be cured of leprosy. Elisha sends him to bathe seven times in the River Jordan. Naaman is completely cured of his leprosy, and his skin becomes “like the flesh of a little child.” Naaman undergoes a conversion and disavows his pagan Gods, saying,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel….”
Naaman is grateful to Elisha and offers him a generous gift. Elisha refuses the gift. Elisha assures Naaman that the healing came from God, and only God should receive Naaman’s gratitude.
That is the lesson for us. Faith and gratitude to God.
We should also be grateful to God for life. All human life. God tells us we are made in his image and likeness, from conception to natural death. God gives human life. Only God can take life. We are expected to care for human life in all of life’s stages. That is the Catholic Church’s teaching.
As your Pastor, I am much more concerned about building a culture of life here in our parish, than about having a specific Pro-Life ministry. If we build a culture of life here in our parish, the ministries will spring up with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Over the past couple of years we have been attempting to take a broader view of life. A Pro-Life culture is much more than simply anti-abortion or crisis pregnancy. Those positions are certainly part of a healthy Pro-Life culture. However, Pro-Life should really be more Pro-Family. It is in a healthy family that children should be born and raised and the sick and the elderly cared for. It is in the family where we should teach about the dignity of life, the dignity of lepers and all life’s disadvantaged and marginalized. Families should teach the beauty of life and the horror of abortion and assisted suicide.
A couple of years ago, we entered into a partnership with St. John Paul II Life Center and Vitae Clinic, asking them to help us to build up our Pro-Life ministries here in our parish. We also had the advantage of having Mrs. Luisa de Poo on our staff here in the parish to help coordinate this program. She organized the first Pro-Life/Pro-Family Fair last year. Luisa has moved on to become the Director of Pro-Life Ministry for the entire Diocese of Austin.
Sr. Olga has taken Luisa’s place and is now in charge of our parish Pro-Life program. This weekend we have the second Pro-Life/Pro-Family Fair. Luisa is still helping us. Last year’s event was so well received that this year we have every Pro-Life agency in Central Texas signed up to exhibit at our Pro-Life Fair, this Sunday in the cafeteria from 9am to 4:30pm. This is the only Pro-Life Fair ever held in the Diocese, now supported by every Pro-Life agency. St. John Paul II Life Center and Vitae Clinic will be providing live sonograms on volunteer patients with the expert support of Dr. Jeremy Kalamarides. Come see live babies in their mother’s wombs. I urge all parishioners to attend the Pro-Life/Pro-Family Fair. We need a culture of life here in our parish, and strong families. We need to be generous with human life and grateful to God for all life. Babies and old people are not lepers needing to be cast out. Babies are our future. Strong families raise outstanding babies.