May 29, 2022
(This is a draft homily that Fr. Mangini wrote based off the 7th Sunday of Easter readings, which he did before realizing that the Ascension Readings were being used.)
The Archbishop of San Francisco who bans the Speaker of the House from receiving Holy Communion and the Speaker of the House proclaiming the absolute freedom of women to do what they want for their bodies does not contribute anything to Jesus’ plea in our Gospel today: “For those who believe in me… may they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
Maybe, Nancy Pelosi is not Catholic enough and the Archbishop Cordileone is not pastoral enough! The weapons of Ecclesiastical authority and political righteousness only bring the bloodshed of angry words and intemperate condemnations.
In a sense, we are back in the first reading of the Acts of Apostles crying out, covering our ears, and rushing upon each other to stone each other.
Perhaps, all of us need to call out to Jesus: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, Lord Jesus, may I receive your Spirit… Lord, do not hold this sin against us.”
The reality of abortion in the world is a major blight on human culture. I believe that there is no need for abortion on demand if people were more responsible and practiced birth control.
For centuries, the sacred moment of sexual intercourse was protected within the marriage commitment between two people, a man and a woman. Now, it is for anytime, anywhere, without commitment, and often without responsibility. If there is no responsibility, no commitment, passion and spontaneity are the new principles of morality.
Whatever direction in which our culture goes, I do not believe that there is an absolute right to abortion. There is no absolute right to kill a fetus, a young child. Yes, it may be convenient, it may be expedient, it may be an answer for some. I don’t believe that a follower of the Jesus tradition would endorse abortions for everyone. Has America lost our soul and its connections to human life?
In the Book of Revelation today, John hears a voice saying to him: “Behold, I am coming soon, I will bring the recompense I will give to each one according to his deeds.” I do not believe that God will come with a stick in hand to punish us, but I do believe that there will be a reckoning and a consequence whether in our personal lives or in our culture.
I am remembering this morning an editorial that I wrote in the Catholic Voice when I was Editor in 1973: “Is America Losing Its Souls?” I wonder about that today as we push the unbridled rights against those who are defenseless and who are considered to be unuseful or unproductive.
The sacredness of all life, from what is human to what is inanimate or vegetable or plant based is the boundary line of human civilization – I think that we will suffer greatly if we turn our human mistakes and errors into rights.
So, if I were the Archbishop of San Francisco, I would be writing a letter to the Speaker of the House and suggest, could we sit down and talk? Could we share our concerns about where our country is going and what we need to do to foster good human values? Who knows where such a conversation might take us, how beneficial it might be, and where it might go for the cultural benefit of all Americans.
Speaking to all of us who are disciples of Jesus and the bearers of his sacred tradition, we are called to invite our fellow citizen to find the best path to living in this 23rd century, not to destroy and plunge into a moral recession from which it may never recover.
What is Jesus’ dream and hope? He wishes that we could be with him, that we might see the presence and the glory of God. Jesus prays: “Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.”
Well, we do know that, “sort of”– but we can get caught up in what we think are more convenient and practical solutions and values that get us out of “hot water” so to speak.
So, I think that we have to look around us and take a look at life. How will we recover from our mistakes? Are we watering down the better values for a life of integrity, for a life with values that build up life and personal relationships?
Preventing people from receiving Holy Communion or not taking a look at what demeans our culture such as taking life from someone – whether in abortion or capital punishment or murder is a disaster waiting to happen.
Shooting at each other, and sparring verbally, pushing religious, cultural or religious agendas does not make known the love of Jesus or Jesus’ hope that His Father’s love lives in us.
This would be a good conversation to have!