Wednesday, July 6, 2016

celibacy is for many

Wednesday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time II
Year of Mercy
6 July 2016
+Maria Goretti
St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at KU


So far in my 12 years in being a priest, my ministry has been centered around youth. At my last parish, Christ the King, I spent Sunday nights starting a new Mass and a youth group, trying to engage the young.  Before that I spent three years in a young parish, was chaplain of a high school, and spent six years calling forth vocations, as we see Jesus doing in today's Gospel in calling and sending the first apostles.

I have greatly greatly enjoyed the work I have done with married couples and families, and with those valiantly striving to live marriage, and with those preparing for marriage.  I have loved what few weddings I have been able to do.  Yet the vast majority of my ministry has been to the young, the unmarried.

Such unmarried young people have a champion in today's saint given us by the Church, St. Maria Goretti.  She is a 20th century saint, relatively new!  She was one of the first saints of the 20th century.  She died at age 11, showing that holiness is not just for the old after their passions have run out.   Quite the contrary, some of the greatest saints in the Church have been teenagers, or in this case, even younger!  Holiness is for every stage of life.

The Catholic Church's sure teaching on sexual morality is quite simple actually.  The world needs the light of the Church's teaching amidst all the shifting sands and confusion regarding gender, marriage, etc.  Let me restate the teaching as simply as possible.  Some people are called to holy marriage, which is the total communion of one man and woman promised for life to each other and to any children that may result from this union..  Everyone else is called to celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and so that the meaning of our sexuality may attain and retain its highest honor and fruitfulness within marriage.

It matters not whether you are young or old, straight or gay, or even your gender identity.  You are either called to traditional marriage or celibacy, depending on your state in life.

No one called to celibacy has reason to complain or to charge discrimination!  Celibacy is for many, not for the oppression of a few.  There is solidarity in marriage, and in celibacy.  No one is called to something harder than the great martyr St. Maria Goretti, who gave the entire potential of her life on the altar of chastity, so that love in its fullest meaning, as witnessed to us by Christ Himself, may reach us safely in today's modern times!

St. Maria Goretti, may you be remembered forever - thanks for pointing out the way to us!

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