Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Homily Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B 3 May 2009

220 years ago this past Thursday in Federal Hall on Wall Street in NYC
George Washington delivered the first Inaugural Address
as the first president of the newly-formed U.S.A.

Regarding his election to the presidency, he said…
I was summoned by my country,
whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love…”

He confidently declared that
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providen[ce]…”

And that
“…there is no truth more thoroughly established
than that there exists...
an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…
the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…”

As he spoke that day in 1789, men sat “entranced” before him
while Washington spoke barely above a whisper and his hands trembled.

In George Washington we behold a statesman of great virtue…
who displayed reverence for our nation and awe before his high office
a passion for virtue in governance and leadership
and, above all, love of and devotion to Divine Providence.

He provides an example of a public life not dedicated to his own selfish desires
but lived in service to God and to the common good of our country.
Washington understood that we belong to God
and we owe our lives and fortunes to His Providence.

We are sons and daughters of Almighty God,
for we are created in the very image and likeness of God
and by the great love He has bestowed upon us
we experience the rich blessings of that intimate filial relationship.

Everything in the created world reflects the richness and glory of God.

In a singular way, the human person reveals the image of God,
and by Baptism actually shares in the divine life of the Risen Christ.

Our life has a whole new dimension because it is united to the life of Christ.
We pass from the relationship of creator to creature
to an intimate love between father and children.

That life in Christ which we enjoy as baptized children of God
includes also a collaboration in the ongoing work of God
for the creation and redemption of the world.
Our human existence…our love…our choices, words and actions…
are all meant to reflect God to the world
and fulfill some aspect of God’s creative and saving mission
in the unique circumstances of our individual lives.

Our loving self-sacrifice for God and for the good of others
reveals the identity of God, who is love itself
and the loving communion of persons within the Trinity.

This relationship we have with God
necessarily distinguishes us from the rest of the world.
We remain set apart from the world by the mark of our Baptism
and called to a mission of building the Kingdom of God.

As we persevere in doing so, we surely encounter formidable obstacles,
which chip away at the foundation of God’s Kingdom.

In addition to the anniversary of President Washington’s first inaugural,
this Thursday was also the 100th day of our current president.

After 100 days in office is customary to evaluate a new president
and ask certain questions of effectiveness and popularity.

As Catholic Christians, we ask different questions…of morality and virtue.
Do we find in our leaders a commitment to the true moral good of all people?
Do we see in our government the virtuous leadership of George Washington?

The evidence suggests that the whole operation and strength of our government…
with our money but without our consent…
is being placed solidly behind a particular political agenda
that opposes the sanctity of life
and our freedom to follow the dictates of conscience and religion.

As religion and basic moral values are being squeezed out of society…
we know that we are not alone…for we are in the company of the saints
and we live in the grace of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was the stone rejected by the builders, as our psalm proclaims,
who has become the cornerstone of the whole Church.
He is the Messiah, who, though rejected by the leaders of the world,
remains the sure hope and salvation of all people.

Because the world did not know or accept Christ...Saint John tells us…
so the world does not know, understand, or accept his disciples.
Just as the world rejected Christ,
so the world rejects us and our message of life, love and virtue.

We are stones rejected by the builders
who must become the cornerstone of a new and glorious edifice
built on Christ and sealed with the truth of the Gospel!

That kingdom we help to build must be strong and filled with hopeful zeal.
It must proclaim Christ without remorse, defend life without hesitation,
and love every human person because they possess dignity as a child of God.
By our carefully chosen and clearly spoken words of truth, heartfelt prayers,
and generous hearts committed 100% to the Gospel of Life
we must be the cornerstones of conversion in our world!

No matter what our living out of the Gospel entails…no matter what we loose…
our freedom to be who we are in the midst of society…
even perhaps our Catholic schools and hospitals…
we will always be led and nourished by the Good Shepherd
and we will always have the sacraments.

Jesus is the good and faithful shepherd, who leads His flock to holiness,
cares for His beloved even to the point of laying down his life for the sheep,
and feeds us with the precious gift of Himself.

In receiving the Holy Eucharist, the very Body and of Jesus,
we become one with Him who loves us more deeply and perfectly
than the greatest of human words can describe.

The person of Christ penetrates, infuses and enlivens our whole being,
and we find strength in His divine nourishment and shepherding…
strength to be solid and immovable cornerstones
of a new and vibrant evangelization.

Summoned by Divine Providence, we hear His call with veneration and love.
Strengthened by Christ, we answer the call to be cornerstones of conversion,
and co-workers with God for the salvation of the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Homily Father Albright. Divine Providence guided our founding fathers.

Today we seem to have political leaders guided more by money and power than by leaders who are guided by Divine Providence and the good of our country.

You eloqent words give me hope the Lord Jesus Christ does have a plan. We can build(again) what man seems so entent to tear down.