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Where Will You Be This Time Next Year

1/3/2006 - 6:00 AM PST

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By Fr. Robert J. Carr
Catholic Online

A Homily For January 1st 2006

As we begin this year things are looking rather difficult for Catholics. You may know that a court in the State of Oregon has ordered that the Diocese of Portland has to sell its churches and other assets to pay for abuse settlements. I should also add that abuse settlements are exactly that, they are financial payments that settle cases without taking them to court. Therefore, they are not trials.

Last week, a woman on Cape Cod in Massachusetts angry that her mother signed the petition against gay marriage publicly proclaimed on the internet that she had the urge to beat the Catholic out of her mother. Media continue to bash the Church. Last week, for example, both local newspapers published headlines that took sides against the Church in the latest rounds with lawyers.

You know that three weeks ago a US Congressman joined in a pro-gay protest against the Catholic Church outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

The questions of what is ahead of us for 2006 as Catholics can be quite ominous. That is if we look at it ominously.

If we look at it all through the eyes of faith, we may take the same line as a writer to Domenico Bettinelliís Blog (www.bettnet.com.) "This is an exciting time to be Catholic," he writes. Indeed, it is. Clearly, it is a difficult time, and you can expect it to be more difficult, but it is an exciting time. One reason is that we have to make a more conscious choice of whether or not we will live our faith everyday. That is because it may become harder.

When darkness moves in, light becomes more obvious. It appears that we are entering darker times and have been in dark times since 2002. Yet, the more we live our faith, the brighter our light will shine in contrast to the society around us. The Lord is calling us to make that choice.

Do not worry, God will be with us in every step of the way.

If you look at society around us, we are no longer just a litigious society, we have become a society of laws. Laws are stronger, more tyrannical and more intense. Why? The answer is simple, when laws increase it is because charity in the society has decreased. What you are watching has its symptoms in an attack on Catholics, but its cause is that charity is ebbing away in our society. Charity is that element of human existence that seeks to do for another what is best. It is that virtue that is self-sacrificing in its ideals and it is self-giving that others may live. The greatest form of charity we see is Jesusí death on the cross. Our nation is losing charity.

Charity is falling away and its counter opposite, fear, is growing. I think what we are watching is a psychic effect of 9/11. People are feeling vulnerable, they need a target. Catholics have become their punching bag, yet, the fear does not go away, it grows.

The bible teaches that perfect love casts out fear. You and I have to take this time as an opportunity to grow in that love and to grow in Christ.

Todayís readings all talk about Jesus in our midst through the incarnation. The day, the Solemnity of Mary, focuses on His Mother's yes to being part of that incarnation. We cannot forget that through Jesusí birth, death and resurrection, we are formed into the body of Christ. Now Jesus works through us to be his servants on Earth. We are his ambassadors here in our society. However, in order to be so, we need to be in relationship with Jesus our king. We need to seek to be more and more like him and we need to grow in holiness.

We also need to understand it is not really we who are under attack in our society, it is our society that is under attack by itself. Like a societal form of leukemia, it is attacking itself. We are its first victims, the immigrants the next in the eventual long line of victims.

One of the most powerful witnesses to our faith in the twentieth century is that of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He was the Catholic Priest murdered in Auschwitz during the Nazi Reign in Poland. One of the great mysteries is to wonder if God was so great, how could he allow the holocaust and even one of his priests to be murdered in the Holocaust. After all the number of holocaust victims is 14 million people and most of those who were not part of the 6 million Jews were Catholic.

The answer needs to be seen in reverse. NAZI Germany was likewise a society imploding on itself and eventually that is exactly what happened. Again fear and lack of charity moved in bringing a similar societal disease and self destruction. Yet, those like Kolbe were not victims of the holocaust they were agents of God in the midst of the Holocaust. Kolbeís choice brought Godís presence into the most starkest of places. The same can be said for the likes of Fr Walter Czizek S.J., author of He ...

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