Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Today is Fathers’ Day on the secular calendar-so congratulations to all
of our people who are fathers-a vocation that is patterned after the very
Fatherhood of God Himself. Those of you who are good fathers contribute to the
stability of Christendom itself-we keep hearing that the children of intact,
two parent, families are far more likely to succeed in school and in finding
and keeping employment; far more likely to have children of their own whose
families are stable; and far less likely to live lives plagued with troubles.
So, fathers, please keep up the good work!
Today's epistle comes from the 8th chapter of St. Paul's letter to the
“The creature itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption,
into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.”
As is often the case, reading the entire chapter helps to understand what
he means in the few verses read during Mass. What St. Paul alludes to in this
chapter is a fundamental injury that was done to all of creation by the
original sin of Adam and Eve. In giving Adam and Eve what we know as
preternatural gifts, God made all of creation into an ordered existence, to
produce the paradise we read about in the book of Genesis. Everything worked
in harmony-animal, mineral and vegetable. But, then there was sin, and the
harmony was disrupted. Not only the human race, but the entire universe, was
thrown into disorder by their disobedience.
Through original sin, the fundamental balance between the material half and
the spiritual half of God's creation was lost. Mankind began to abuse the
gifts of nature. They tried to find solace and comfort in material things. To
a great extent, they ignored God and the spiritual reality. St. Paul is very
emphatic in telling the Romans that they have to restore the balance. That
they cannot live only in the flesh, without also living in the spirit.
Of course, of our own, we and the Romans cannot restore the balance. Only
God can do that-and only if He chooses to. But the good news that He gives us
is that the same redemption which Christ worked for mankind, will also enable
us to re-acquire that lost balance in nature: “Creation itself is delivered
from slavery to corruption.”
This balance in nature is potentially restored by the sacrifice of
the Cross. Yet, in actuality, something more is needed. It isn't automatic.
Individual people have to respond to their redemption in a positive way. The
balance in creation is actualized only when men follow the laws of God, and
live in a Christ-like harmony.
There is no harmony in man or in nature when human lives are inspired by
the vices. Pride, greed, hatred, and lust, and so forth-all end in confusion,
bloodshed, poverty, and waste.
But, to the contrary, when man is motivated by virtue there is harmony.
Humility, generosity, love, and chastity-all work together to produce a well
ordered society, in which the rights of God and man are respected, and in
which there is comfort and prosperity.
Where Jesus Christ is revered, and His principles put into practice there
is tranquility and happiness. Where He is ignored, there is chaos-and human
efforts to bring order out of that chaos are useless without Christ.
All of the drug wars, and sex education, and mental health counselors, and
governments, and police departments in the world are useless in the absence of
Christianity. Even good laws-those that protect the innocent and stand up for
human dignity-are doomed to failure if they are enacted in a society where
Christ is not recognized as King. If there are not Christian families, in
which children are loved and authority respected -- for the glory of God-then
there will be AIDS, and addiction, and suicide and madness. Creation will
continue to be subject to corruption.
Our Lord came to change all of this-to heal mankind, and all of creation
along with it. Some of His miracles demonstrate His powers over nature: He
changes water into wine, He orders the fish into the Apostles' nets, He calms
the storm and the waves of the sea. Other miracles demonstrate the connection
between the spiritual and the physical: He casts out demons, and the troubled
and the insane are restored, He forgives sins, and the sick become healthy.
Yet, despite the greatness of His redemption and the power of His miracles,
He still places it in human hands to secure Christian harmony in the world. He
made fishermen into "fishers-of-men."
Perhaps some of you are called to His priesthood, or to the religious life
as a nun or a monk. That's a call that needs to be answered-especially in such
But, all of us are called to strive to restore Christ's Kingdom-to find a
balance in your own lives between the material and the spiritual-to recover
nature from its fundamental corruption.
For some that will be through the religious life. In some measure it will
require demanding the return of Christian principles in governments. For most
it will be accomplished through family and friends, in rebuilding those basic
units of society along Christian lines. For everyone, it will require a return
to Christian virtue, and a positive response to our redemption. We see the
importance of intact families-Catholic mothers and fathers and their children.
Our effort is essential, for the only alternative is chaos-a world marked
by sin, suffering, sickness, and death. “The sufferings [and the
difficulties] of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory to come.”
Only with our Lord Jesus Christ is there salvation-a measure in this world,
and its fulfillment in the world to come.