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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Synod 2015 and half-conversion

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The rich young man wanted to "have his cake and eat it too", he wanted one foot in the world and another in heaven. He was a disciple of Jesus but only so far, only to the point where it hurt, where it made him uncomfortable and demanded exactly what he didn't want to give up.

Because we find it so scary when we don't have any control, we all end up wanting just some small, minor adjustments to our lives.  We want tweaking and not transformation.

Jesus doesn't want to make a minor adjustment on your life.  He wants to completely transform it.  He wants you to love in a radical and full way, not just a little bit better than where you are right now.   Will we allow ourselves to lose control so that we can find the happiness we truly want?

The same set of problems goes true in our families.  Families struggle because we don't go "all in" as Jesus' disciples.

Right now a select group of bishops throughout the world are gathered in Rome for an extraordinary synod on the family.  This 2015 Synod started just after the World Meeting of Families, held every three years, which we were able to host in Philadelphia and was the cause of Pope Francis' visit to us.  I ask that you continue to pray for this meeting.  The family has been under attack from without and within: divorce, domestic violence, jobs that tear families apart, equating same-sex unions with marriage, abortion, an aggressive individualism that forgets relationships, contraception, the need for constant entertainment and distraction from those around us, and of course the selfishness that corrupts every human heart.  Yet despite all this, God is faithfully working to build us up.  Some 900,000 people, members of families desiring to live their faith deeply, gathered around Pope Francis in Philadelphia much like that rich young man came enthusiastically to Jesus.

Those families were eager to follow Christ, but the demands are going to continue to come for us to give everything to Christ Jesus.  My sister and brother-in-law just had their fifth child.  I am so excited for them.  What a blessing it is for me to be an uncle again.  I have a new person to love and be loved by in my family.  But my family, like all families, has challenges both without and within: brokenness, weakness, selfishness, demanding workplaces, a culture of boredom and entertainment.  Like the rich young man, the temptation is always there to keep control of our lives and only let Jesus make minor adjustments on ourselves.

Our families need prayers so that we can build on the good foundation of love that the Lord has blessed us with.  We need to continue to grow in our discipleship to Jesus.  It is only when we let go of everything and follow the Lord with a greater intensity that we will be able to experience the beautiful blessings of family life in all their richness.  Even the small glimpses of family love that we have experienced should encourage us to give Jesus everything that our families are.  Let us as God to give us the Wisdom that we need to see our lives from the perspective of eternity, and let the trivial things pass from our hearts so that we can experience the fullness of family life.  and May God bless the Synod and its leader, Pope Francis, to speak words of the Gospel that the world needs to hear.

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