Until I get time to archive these properly on the main site I will post this one here. I don’t know if I will archive them all. Please understand there are references to previous homilies and I won’t be able to explain them all. I think you get the general gist. I also adlib a bit from the standard text as I find things that work better. This was the first draft.
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
During the course of the week I heard that some of our younger parishioners were saying I looked like the Hulk. Now granted I am wearing green, I am larger than your average Joe (or Father Joe). I also am no Brad Pit but I didnít think I was quite that ugly. One thing I am quite certain of is that I am not that mean or angry. Believe it or not there is a point here but your going to have to wait to the end of my homily to get it.
Last week I told the story of my younger years when I had a Camaro and thought that diesel fuel looked more appealing to me than the more expensive unleaded fuel. I offered the advice that when the car maker and designer says unleaded fuel only Ė you should believe them. It takes a certain kid of Gas to make a car go. It also takes a certain kind of spiritual gas to make us go. The ones God has appointed to tell us what that is are the Pope and Bishops with the final authority going to the Pope.
In this weeks readings we hear a stern warning against shepherds who would mislead their flocks and scatter them. God knows it takes a certain kind of gas to make us go and he intends for us to know what it is so we can be happy. If a doctor tells you to drink poison and he kills you wouldnít you want him held responsible? God doesnít want you poisoned either with bad teaching. He wants you to know the truth. And those who spread false teaching will be held accountable. There will be a day of reckoning and woe to those who failed to teach what the Church teaches. That is one reason why I intend to tell you the truth even if at times it makes you think I am mean.
You would think with such strong words that no Bishop or priest would ever take the chance of passing on a false teaching that contradicts what the Church has taught. But some have. One of the most obvious examples in the United States is the Churchís teaching on artificial contraception. The Church teaches clearly, forcefully and infallibly that all acts of artificial contraception are intrinsically evil and grave sin.
Why do I bring this up? This is Natural Family Planning week in the Church. Most Catholics in the United States donít understand the Churchís teaching on this and why it is sinful. They think the Church is behind the times and if they follow the Churchís teaching it will be too burdensome. As I said the Church knows what kind of Gas it takes to make your spiritual car go. Let me explain three of the many reasons why the Church teaches so strongly against this.
1. The most popular forms of contraception tend to be abortifacient rather than contraceptive. What this means is that they donít prevent conception but rather cause an abortion. Life begins at conception and any means that gets rid of a fertilized egg is an abortion which is the killing of a human being. This includes the most popular method the pill. Many types of the pill donít prevent conception but rather prevent implantation in the womb. This results in the death of a child. Most doctors donít tell you this. Most people wouldnít risk it if they knew they might be killing a child. Do you really want to risk that.
2. Artificial contraception objectifies women. It basically treats her fertility as a disease that needs to be cured. A healthy woman is supposed to be fertile for about 10 days a month. If you want to love someone you must love all of them. Not just parts. You canít say I this and that part of you but not this part. Treating a healthy woman as someone who has disease for the purposes of gratification reduces her to an object and not a person. To use another person as an object is a grave moral sin. True love demands a complete giving of yourself and receiving of the other. You canít accept just the parts of them you like.
3. Contraception is dangerous. Using the Pill causes an increased risk in cancer. If you use it over 5 years there is a 60% greater chance of cervical cancer. 10 or more your chances are doubled. A study of 100,000 women showed you are 25% more likely to develop breast cancer. I could go on. Since its introduction in 1962 has there been an increase in these types of cancer? Of Infertility? Of Abortion? Of Divorce? The Church warned of these and no one listened.
There are more reasons for sure and I would like to explain them each to you but that would require too much time. What is the alternative? Natural Family Planning. Let me offer you some reasons for considering it.
1. It is the most effective method for regulating births. God knows how our bodies work and he knows how to give us effective methods of timing births that donít involve us chemically altering our bodies. Study after study shows that those who use NFP faithfully are more successful at timing births. 99.6%. All that and it is natural and non-evasive. More important you cooperate with God and the way he designed you.
2. Couples who use NFP communicate more and have happier marriages. Responsibility is shared. The divorce rate in our country is above 50% right now. For new couples getting married there is a 64% chance of getting married. Statistics show that couples who use NFP have a divorce rate of less than 5%. It isnít surprising to me that if you cooperate with God and the way he designed you instead of change it you have a more fruitful life. It isnít surprising to me either that a relationship canít last in which the woman becomes an object.
3. It does not involve any unnatural method that views fertility as a disease. Rather it cooperates with the way God made us and not surprisingly it does so with more effectiveness than our man made methods. Women shouldnít have to be chemically altered or treated in order to have a successful marriage. They should be able to be accepted for who they are in their entirety. Anything else simply isnít loving them for who they are.
There are many reasons why we should listen to the Churchís teaching. Most of all because God designed us and made us and he knows what is best for us and will make us happy. He has revealed that to us through the Church as he said he would. If you donít understand or donít agree would you be willing to find out more? I would be happy to try to help and to put you in touch with people and materials that can allow you to understand it better. As it says in the scriptures woe to me if I donít try to teach you the truth. I might be big, I might be dressed in green but I promise you I wonít be angry and I wonít be mean. I truly want you to be happy and I know that can only happen by putting the right gas in your tank.