The Gospel of Life

28th Week of Ordinary Time
Beloved in Christ,
A while back, I was asked to go to a Youth Rally in order to hear confessions for the young people there. I wasn’t sure what this would be, but upon arriving, I saw that the school gym was packed, and the speaker was a young man in blue-jeans named Jason. I noticed, that the young people were totally focused on what he was saying.
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In his talk, he described a young woman who grew up in a sad household; her father had left them, life was hard. He said, this attractive young woman was asked out on a date by the captain of the football team. He told her he loved her. She heard words she had never heard. She wanted to be loved. So she got very involved with him, allowing affections to become sins. Her friends told her, as long as you are in a “committed relationship,” that’s what matters. So she gave away a gift that HE had no right to – her purity. It didn’t take long for him to lose interest, because he no longer respected her.
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She then had to find “love” again; she jumped from “committed relationship” to “committed relationship;” from boy, to boy, to boy, seeking to fill an inner sadness. Did those boys want to be her husband? No. or a father of her children? No. or her protector? No.
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The gym that day felt electrically charged: every single young person there knew EXACTLY what Jason was talking about, with a truth not found in People Magazine or Youtube or Vogue. ‘That young woman, he said, found herself in a despair. That is – until she met Jesus. Until she met the mercy of God. She went to confession and confessed it all. She learned what it means to be pure, and chaste, and self-controlled; she learned a new way to be happy. And she learned that it wasn’t too late for her.
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From then on, every weekend, when her ‘friends’ asked her to go out partying, she said ‘no;’ instead she wrote letters to her future husband. Every time she felt sad, she wrote a letter to her future husband. ‘Oh my beloved, I have done many bad things with my body and my life. But now I am saving myself for you. I am living in the Lord, because he loves me, and wants me to be happy. I know that my sexuality is made by God for love, for family, and for children. I am now waiting for you, my beloved.’ Such letters she wrote.
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From those late high school days, and into college, whenever she felt sad, she wrote a letter. Jason said, ‘eventually, she had a large stack of letters to her future husband. ‘And how do I know that,’ he asked? Because she is now my wife. And she gave them to me on our wedding night.
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Friends, our young people are under attack today with perhaps the greatest evil ever unleashed. They are in the midst of a war against goodness, against love, and against life itself. There is a mind-set almost everywhere that we call the ‘culture of death.’ It is a view that says: do whatever you want. This is freedom. Your sexuality is yours, for your fun. Before marriage – fine. Within marriage, no limits; no need for children, just have fun. And if you get pregnant, we can fix that too. We have the Plan B drug. We have abortion. We will kill your baby for you, and everything will be fine. —— No. It won’t be just fine; I have met many wounded people, and they tell me that it was not ‘just fine.’ It is a lie.
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October is Respect Life Month. The bishops ask us to speak about these subjects, we have to speak about what is going on. Last month the Holy Father, on a satellite meeting with youth, broadcast around the country – he told a young woman ‘You are courageous because you brought your daughter into the world. ‘You could have killed her in your womb,’ he said, ‘but you respected life.’ He spoke very clearly on this, but the newspapers did not report what he said. Time magazine even changed his words.
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You may have seen in the news the abortion-giant Planned Parenthood, that runs abortion clinics – they have been caught on secret video selling body parts of little babies, sitting at expensive dinners and laughing, while they negotiated the best price for a little child’s body parts, for money. This is demonic. This whole thing is demonic.
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Jesus has a totally different plan for our lives. He wants us to live a pure life, a wholesome life, and never be connected with this culture of death. In that rally I was at, Jason told those young people, when you give your body to another, you are saying: I give myself – my whole self to you. But this is meant for marriage. Without vows, without a life-long promise, this is not a giving of self, it is using another person, and this wounds countless hearts and lives.
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‘I have come, says the Lord, that you may have life. And have it more abundantly. What happens when sexual love is trivialized, and made into a recreational sport? Ask those kids in that high school gym. They know. Broken hearts. Venereal disease. Depression. Fear. Despair. These are the fruits of this culture of death. The world does not believe our kids can live in chastity and holiness – instead it tells them, here is your freedom: pills and diaphragms, and gels, and abortions and death and suicide. That’s freedom.
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NO! Our bodies are not machines to be manipulated. Our body is intimately connected to our soul, and to God. St. Paul says: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you.” ‘And you have NOT authority over your own body, he says, but rather the husband. Whose the husband he speaks of? It’s Jesus. It is Christ who has authority over our body, our soul – he has authority over our whole selves; Jesus is Lord. We must teach this. We must live this. ‘Jesus, you are Lord of my life, let me live for you!
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Many have not protected their virginity or they have taken someone’s purity from them. You may know someone who felt panicked or trapped and had an abortion or cooperated in it. But Jesus has not given up on them. The Lord says, it is not too late. I love you. I LOVE YOU. ‘Come to me, all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest.
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That day at the gym, I heard many amazing confessions, of young people who had made mistakes, but who decided to choose Jesus and follow the path of joy. And not only them, but hundreds of people every week here in confessions at our parish on Fridays and Saturdays or when they call – many are leaving their sins behind and are choosing to follow Jesus.
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We see in the gospel today this young man who could not leave what he had, in order to follow Christ.
He could not leave it.
And then it says, ‘he went away sad.’
The ways of sin are sadness, God’s way is joy. St. Paul says: God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather of power and love and self-control, so do not be ashamed of your testimony of our Lord.
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Some young people today are giving testimony; they are making bold promises. Promising to be virgins until marriage, or to regain their spiritual virginity until marriage. I’ve seen young men and women wearing purity rings; ‘What is that ring for?’ I ask. ‘It’s a purity ring Father, until I’m married.’ Men and women.
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Some young people are taking a stand, and they are not sad at all, but happy. It takes guts to take a stand. But that is the advantage of being a Christian.
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May the blessed Virgin help us to be great persons; Mary, pray for us to be pure and faithful and courageous, that we will be true followers of Jesus Christ.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of Mother Cabrini]

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