Archive for May, 2012

A Good Christian Life

Thursday, May 31st, 2012


Rom 12: 9-16; Luke 1: 39-56

By Deacon Larry Brockman


Love and Humility!  They go hand in hand, two sides of the same coin.  And our Blessed Mother exhibits these two qualities so very well as she visits her cousin Elizabeth.  Mary has been chosen by God to be the God bearer- the mother of Almighty God born man.  But rather than get all puffed up about her role what does she do after she learns of it?  She visits her cousin Elizabeth and serves her for the final 3 months of her pregnancy.  She realizes how she has been chosen, and in the longest quote from Mary that we have in the Bible, she proclaims this famous prayer to her cousin, Mary’s Song of Praise, a song of praise that is full of love and humility.  Yes, Mary lived a life of love and humility. 


I couldn’t help but make the connection with the words in Paul’s epistle this morning, as Paul leaves us all a roadmap for how to live a Good Christian life.  Sometimes we make that more difficult than it is because we don’t understand what the Lord is calling us to do.  We hear of the stories of great men and women in our society, and, especially when we are young, we aspire to greatness.  As life unfolds before us, we meet challenges with resolve to be great, to do great things- to be the world’s best athlete; a world renown musician or singer; the next trend setter in technology, like the guy who invents the next Twitter or Facebook; or to become a doctor or engineer or lawyer or politician or whatever; and to really make a difference in the world.  As we get older, reality slowly dawns on us and most of us never achieve the greatness of our hopes. 

And yet, we can become eminently more successful than most of the world’s success stories because mixed in with whatever we want to do, and actually do in this world with the talents God gave us, is our real purpose in life.  You see, like Mary, God has his plans for us.  They may include great things by the world’s standards, or they may be filled with the very ordinary things of life. 

But mixed in with them is the need for us to live a Christian life.  And living that Christian life is what our roadmap to the kingdom of God is all about.  It’s all about how we relate to people along the way- loving with sincerity; being fervent in the spirit; treating others with honor; rejoicing in hope; enduring affliction; persevering in prayer; associating with the lowly and not being haughty.  Yes, it’s all about the things that Paul mentions this morning.


And each of us is given the opportunities to demonstrate our Christianity as well, to live these Christian values while we pursue our own dreams.  Only sometimes they seem to inconvenience us, like the people in need we encounter and the interruptions that life sends our way- illnesses, setbacks, failures, and moral challenges.  But they are all God’s little moments in our lives, our opportunities to shine, to be a Christian; to be humble and loving. 

Embrace them, and be a Christian.  And let your soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord.

A Mother’s Kind of Love

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John 4: 7-10; John 15: 9-17

By Deacon Larry Brockman


How many of you would lay down your life for your friends?  And yet, that is what we are being called to do by Jesus.  That’s the kind of love we are being asked to show.


Several years ago, I presided at a funeral for a lady.  She had come over here from England and was running her own business with her husband when she came down with cancer.  Her husband told me a very interesting story about her.  He told me about the special relationship she had with her one and only son.  It seems that when they first got married, she really wanted to have children.  But the doctors told her that because of a medical condition she had, she could not carry a baby to birth without severe risk of death.  A couple of years later, she became pregnant, and the same doctors told her that she had to abort her child or die.  She just couldn’t do that.  She had always wanted a baby with all her heart, and she had fallen in love with the unborn child.  And so, she carried that baby through till birth and suffered through a very, very difficult pregnancy.  The doctors were constantly advising her to abort her child or die.  But she was willing to sacrifice her own life for her child.  That, brothers and sisters, is the kind of love that Jesus is talking about.  It’s the kind of love that is unselfish; love that is a commitment to a higher purpose.  And it is no secret, it is the kind of love that Mothers have for their children.   

Today, we celebrate Mother’s Day, and rightfully recognize the love that our Mother’s have for us.  It is the kind of love that gets Mom’s up at all hours to feed and change their babies; the kind of love that sacrifices career and personal goals so that a child is taken care of; and it is the kind of love that sacrifices our own wants and needs so that our children will have the very best.  And so, we honor all our mothers today for the unselfish love they have given us.


But let me go back for a moment and ask this question:  How can we love God all the time like Moms love their children?  We can understand a Mom’s love for her child, and we can understand how God loves us like that- giving up His own son Jesus for us.  But how can we love God like that? 


First, we have to listen to God.  We have to hear what he wants of us.  A mother knows how to listen to her child.  She is in tune with the words, the body language, and the overall status of her child at all times.  We need to do the same thing with God.  God wants the very best for us but we must listen to him.  He talks to us through the ordinary events of life: our prayers, the pangs of our conscience, and the opportunities that present themselves in the events of our lives.  Because of the Christ that is in all the people around us, God is relating to us all the time.  Yes, the people around us are calling out to us as Christ for our love and help.  And so, when we show kindness to others, we are loving God.


And finally we need to lay down our life for God  We do that whenever we make sacrifices for others- like a mother that puts her day out with the friends on the back burner when her child needs help.


Now even though the love of God is unconditional, and we are being asked to love the same way, there is another side to love that we should talk about.  Because as much as God loves us; and as much as we love our children; there is always the possibility that this love will be rejected.  Sometimes our children reject our love.  And sometimes we reject God’s love for us.  There is something we need to learn from that.  First, that we have to keep right on loving whether the love is returned or not.  That’s what God does for us.  Now there are many Moms out there who feel a great sense of loss because the love they have for their children has been rejected or forgotten.  But they continue to love their children.  So secondly, we need to forgive those who love us, and return that love.  That is the real love of God at work.  God loves all of us that way. 


Now, when it comes to the Church, we often use the term Holy Mother the Church.  Why? Because the Church acts in our interest like a mother.   The Church has a responsibility to always tell us the truth- God’s truth, just like we tell our children the truth.  As children, sometimes we listen; and sometimes we don’t.  But no matter what we have done, no matter how we may have rejected her in the past, the Church is always there to welcome us back; and she is constantly nurturing our needs.  She does that with the Sacraments and with Church Teachings.  She teaches us how to live like Jesus and love.


For some time now, the Church in this country has been caring for the people of God in a free and open environment.  So, the Church operates schools and hospitals and adoption agencies and services for the poor.  She provides those services to one and all; but only in so far as they are provided consistent with Church teachings.  This is what we would expect from a good mother- that everything she does be done with the best of intentions. 


As it turns out, Holy Mother the Church needs us now because She is being attacked.  Secular society and the Government are telling Holy Mother the Church what She must do through the HHS Mandate.  They are telling the church that she has no right to help others outside our faith unless she is willing to compromise Her own beliefs.  This is something the Church cannot, and will not do.  The Church will close up all her services before that happens. 


Jesus says that the way you will know if He remains in you is if you keep His commandments.  The Church knows that, and for that reason will not compromise on the commandments.  All of us need to keep God’s commandment as well, to love God, and our neighbor as ourselves and to follow what the Church teaches.  We also need to support our mothers.  Those who have loved us unconditionally, loved us as they love life itself.


In this time of need, we need to be there for Holy Mother the Church as well.  We need to love the Church, the body of Christ with our actions and words and hearts; loving Her as we love our own lives.   

On Loving God

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Thursday of 5th Week of Easter

Acts 15: 7-21; John 15: 9-11

By Deacon Larry Brockman


“Remain in my Love”.  That is Jesus’ advice to us.  And how do we do that- by keeping Jesus’ commandments to us: loving God first, and our neighbor as ourselves.  After all, that was his primary commandment. 


But Jesus also told the Apostles that whatever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven.  And so Jesus gave the authority to the Church to define right and wrong a little more explicitly.   We are bound to listen to what Holy Mother the Church has to say about faith and morals.  So “remaining in my love” is simple in concept, but yet, difficult in practice.  Or is it that we make it more difficult than it is?


When we were very young our parents were everything to us.  We wanted their love more than anything else.  And especially with our Mom’s, we were recipients of unconditional love.  We soon learned that such love was most lavishly displayed when we did what our parents commanded us to do, or didn’t do what they wanted us not to do, as the case might dictate.  At first, we didn’t question their authority or their commandments.  Whatever they said was what we would do.  But then, as we grew older, we began to question.  Some of us even dared to know better than our parents!  And like all good parents, they let us go.  And so, there came a time when we found ourselves out on our own, replicating the same cycle of parent and child, soon to be idolized by our own children.  And when they idolized us, we often reflected on how brilliant our own parents really were after all.


Isn’t that similar to how our relationship goes with Jesus?  When we first learn about God, we don’t question his commandments.  But the more we learn; the more we begin to question.  And there comes a time in our relationship with God, after we learn to think for ourselves, that we even dare to second guess what God has revealed as his law through Holy Mother the Church.  Sometimes I hear that sentiment quite explicitly.  “Well, I know what the Church teaches, but I don’t believe that”  Really. 


You see, there is a difference.  Because unlike the relationship we have with our children, we do not ever achieve parity with God.  God remains so far above us that we cannot appreciate the depth of the separation.  True, He is an intimate God who sent His only son among us.  But, His ways are not our ways, and we don’t understand why things are the way they are.  That’s why He left the Apostles and the Church for us; to teach us the truth so that we could believe.  And by believing, we mean accepting on faith what the Church teaches.


For all those who believe and keep His commandments; for all those who remain in Jesus love, the reward is clear.  Our joy will be complete.  It is that simple.