Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

All of us would like to believe that what we say should be judged on its own merits, but we know—actions speak louder than words. We can go to church, say all the right words, but sometimes our actions say something else. The accusation of hypocrisy is perhaps the number one criticism against members of formed religion—often including Christians. If children observe their parents being mean to each other, the children are going to learn meanness, not kindness, as the standard way of relating. Parents tell their children that it is important to worship God. But if the parents are not living their faith daily, they send a message that is a lot louder than their words.

Parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles warn their children about the evils of drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Yet children see different behavior in the adults in their families—those who may smoke, and or overindulge in alcohol. The message is that you better do as I say, but not as I do!

There are also the group dynamics of words and deeds. If we encounter gossip or the sharing of racist jokes and remain silent we are just as guilty for r not standing up for Christ-centered values and morals against those doing the talking.

Jesus addresses such hypocrisy and was not fearful for standing up against injustice—it wasn’t a popularity contest! And Jesus calls us to do as he did and be his presence for others BY our character-witness-ethical behavior-forgiveness-honor and love in family and community.  Formation in Christ centered values and morality is the mission of our church and school for all of us; it is the legacy we leave from generation to generation. The rich legacy of our parish extends to thousands of families and reflected in our school mission.

AS many of you know, this year the Bishop, Principal, Super of Schools and I made the difficult decision to close our school due to the soaring annual needs for tuition assistance and our enrollment declining to 51 or so students.

Hundreds of alumni, families, women Religious and all the faculty added to the sacred history of formation in Christ. Our administrators through the years and clergy have also contributed to the Christ centered mission by their leadership and partnership.

WE are proud that our school is built upon the teachings of Jesus as foundational. It is not only in learning about the Lord–what he taught and having faith in Him, it is the living of Him daily that reflects who our students, faculty and school families are. That formation is engrained and will never be wasted or lost unless they choose to do so. Such goals to put on Christ is thematic in our celebration of National Catholic School Week with this year’s theme: “Learn Serve Lead Succeed”

The theme is a universal one for us Catholics Formation in Christ is ongoing, especially as issues become cloudier as secularism encroaches on our moral life. As adults most of us want to be educated about the teachings of our faith, and to be aware of what is going on in our community, country and world that threatens who we are and our values. And to live out our covenant with the Lord and to help lead others to succeed in their life with Christ

To stand up for our faith values, witness with authenticity to all family members, the workplace and in public about morality and right choices, is always our responsibility. For secularism, the belief that religion should not play a role in government, education, or other public parts of society, continues to erode moral beliefs and behavior and challenge our rights to have such. Life as disposable is a byproduct of such movements. When we stand up publicly-that includes within our families, and against the tide of denigrating human and all life, we encourage others to also stand and do the same.

We need to be current on public issues, especially those that affect our Christian values. Why? It is a crucial way to protect our religious rights and freedoms –we safe guard liberty. To understand how secularism is encroaching on our freedoms, we must continue on-going education, formation and an understanding of who we are as disciples of Christ in the world. We must stand up for whom we represent in words plus our deeds

“Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties.

I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.”

Propriety isn’t a word we hear often. It means the state or quality of conforming to accepted standards of behavior or morals -principles that express and reflect life values. I add it reflects the core of respect for self and others.

When we witness our values and respect, we show who we are. by the way that we live.

Fr. Gordon