Hand in Hand

04-16-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Back in the 1970s there was a folk song sung at Masses entitled “Put Your Hand In The Hand Of The Man Who Stilled The Water.” Those lyrics came to mind when I read the Gospel for Mass (John 20:19-31) today as I was preparing my homily for this weekend’s Masses. This passage gives us the account of two post resurrection appearances of Jesus to His apostles. In the first appearance the disciples are behind locked doors as a group, for fear of those who crucified Jesus. The Risen Jesus came and took away their fears with these powerful words: “Peace be with you.” He repeated that greeting a second time and showed them His hands and his side which bore the scourge of His crucifixion. The disciples were overwhelmed and filled with joy. When they told St. Thomas of this appearance he refused to believe. The Gospel for today continues with the account of Jesus’ second appearance to them where He said to St. Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” 

Jesus invites us to take our hand and put it in His hand as we live our lives every day. To do that is to be very aware that He is walking with us in our lives every day. The more we are conscious of His “secure grip” the more peace we have in our hearts and the more courage we have to live through Him, with Him, and in Him. Jesus welcomes us into His life with divine love, life-giving mercy, and pure truth. Being a Catholic in today’s world is not a cakewalk. Besides our personal differences and challenges with those we encounter every day we face many crucial moral issues in our world and in our nation. Divisions are the result of anger, disappointment, and a lack of a common foundation in the truth of who we are. This past week there were reports in the media about the ruling of a Texas judge that suspended the approval of the abortion pill that enables pregnancies to be ended at home with mifepristone. This pill is the most common method of having an abortion today. This ruling has caused political turmoil, calls for dismissing this ruling, and a deeper and deeper division among us as a nation and as individuals. As long as the truth about the sanctity of human life beginning at conception is denied and a conceived child in the womb is considered an unwanted result of sexual intercourse, we will never find peace. To expose human life at any stage of development and the life of the child conceived to public and political opinion is evil and sinful. And we can see so clearly this is dividing our nation. The support of destruction of a child in the womb has led some of its supporters to deface, vandalize, and destroy Life Centers which peacefully and lovingly offer hope and support to pregnant women. Catholic Churches have also been vandalized and defaced. Evil drives its supporters and advocates to deface and destroy property and buildings that oppose their opinion, to do more evil. We sorely need to calm the waters of dissension, violence, and division. Only the truth will set us free, not public opinion or editorials that spew forth support for death and destruction of the most innocent and fragile among us. It bewilders me how we as Catholics can be politicians, support politicians and join with advocates of abortion—the brutal, inhuman taking of human life in the womb, the place all of us begin our human existence. Ironically President Ronald Regan said, "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born." In other words those who support, promote, and perform abortions are saying, “My life is more important than yours.” That is petulant, childish, and selfish. 

May we all put our hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the water and peacefully, prayerfully, lovingly, and courageously support all children growing in the mother’s wombs, their mothers, and their fathers.

I offer this canticle from the book of Daniel 3:57-88 which praises God for the wonder of creation of which we are the height as human beings who live as His children.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.

Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord.

You heavens, bless the Lord.

All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.

All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.

Sun and moon, bless the Lord.

Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord

All you winds, bless the Lord.

Fire and heat, bless the Lord.

Cold and chill, bless the Lord.

Dew and rain, bless the Lord.

All you winds, bless the Lord.

Fire and heat, bless the Lord.

Cold and chill, bless the Lord.

Dew and rain, bless the Lord.

Frost and chill, bless the Lord.

Ice and snow, bless the Lord.

Nights and days, bless the Lord

Light and darkness, bless the Lord.

Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord.

Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.

Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord

You springs, bless the Lord.

Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.

You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord. All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.

All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.

You sons of men, bless the Lord.