The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Monday, July 21, 2008

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time A

We are reminded by today's Gospel that we are all sinners. Everyone of us. It would be presumptuous of us to sit in judgement and condemn others. Instead, we can best persuade others to follow Christ by living the Gospel in our own lives.

In using three parables of the weeds of the field, Jesus tells us that the actions of the Son of Man, Jesus, are opposed by the evil one, the devil.

Humanity is divided into two groups: the children of the kingdom and the children of the evil one.

The focus is on the great judgment that will come at the end of time. Just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the age.

The Son of Man will send His angels who will collect out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father.

The fact that God permitted (and permits) sin and its consequences does not suggest in any way that God was the author of evil, or that God could not do anything about it, or that it took God by surprise and spoiled God’s plan. God saw (or, bet¬ter, "sees") the whole of history in the very act of creation.

Now that history includes original sin, but it also includes our salva¬tion, for even when we disobeyed God and lost His friendship, He did not abandon us.

First, He sent His Son to redeem us and reopen heaven to us. Then He and His Son sent Their Spirit, Who "helps us in our weakness" and "intercedes" for us “ according to the will of God," as we hear in the Second Reading.

Why did God allow the origi¬nal sin? The answer is that He had given Adam and Eve free will, which was necessary for them to freely relate to Him in love, but of course, because of this free will, this always included the possibility of their rejecting Him.

Why did God allow the con¬sequences of their rejection? Pre¬sumably He could have simply erased the original sin, but then He would have had to do the same for the next sin, and the next, forever. That would mean taking away our free will, for if He corrected every wrong choice, we would end up having no real choice at all.

As any gardener knows, weeding can be the greatest threat of all to the life of the young seedling. At first, the problem is one of proper identification. What is a weed and what isn’t?

So, the weeds must be left until the seedling can be clearly recognised. Even then, removing the weeds may pose an even greater threat. Weeding might damage the seedling's root system. Pulling out the weed brings the seedling away with it.

And, In the case of human beings it is an even more hazardous option. 'Weeding-out' has no history of success but that doesn't seem to have stopped us humans from weeding out those that we judge to be undesirable.

Fifty years after Hitler's final solution, the horrendous weeding out of six million Jews in concentration camps, the Bosnian Serbs were attempting the same brutal policy of 'ethnic cleansing'. And we continue to have many other examples of man’s inhumanity to man.

Race, religion, colour, sex, politics are still being used to identify and eliminate society's weeds.

And now our tremendous advances in technology had provided humankind with new and more sinister instruments for weeding out.

The unborn child, who is the seed of life, is brutally eliminated in the hundreds of thousands yearly by the sinister act of abortion. While at the other end of life, mercy killing or euthanasia is proposed as the final solution for the new Jews, that is the old, the maimed, the incurables and the burdensome. Right through life, we humans continue to weed remorselessly.

The weak and unwanted are eliminated, the handicapped are institutionalised, the delinquent are penalized, the deviant are ostracized and the poor are patronised.

And this weeding out is not just confined to a faceless government acting in our name.

We all try our hand at it. As we sit in judgment on our fellow human beings we like to think our judicious weeding-out has prevented many great personal calamities. We are very sharp at spotting the undesirables, the troublemakers, the misfits.

One shudders to think of the people who might have been weeded out if men had gotten their way and God himself had not chosen to intervene.

Most probably a great majority of the saints in our calendar would have been weeded out by our remorseless purging and we would also probably have condemned them all to hell.

If it was up to us, Peter, for example, after his triple denial in the crucifixion crisis should have been weeded out for failing the leadership test.

And don’t you think it strange that Christ never weeded out Judas?

The lesson of the parable of the weeds is so simple and but yet so widely ignored. To the question 'Do you want us to go and weed it out?' the answer is a categorical 'No'.

This week the President of the Canadian Association of the Knights of Columbus wrote a short, respectful but demanding letter to the Governor General of Canada. In it, Natale Gallo respectfully demanded that the Order of Canada given to Henry Morgentaler be immediately rescinded.

This letter is dated July 16th over two weeks since Canada Day. The date is important because it serves to emphasize that this matter is far from over.

You see, one of the strategies of the culture of death is to expect a lot of initial opposition from the silent majority – but if history is a teacher – they know that this opposition will quickly die down.

It seems that the vast majority of people will sort of salve their consciences by signing petitions and sending letters and the like but will soon want to return to the peace and quiet of their daily lives and will tire of the debate. Especially if the topic is unpleasant.

The matter will then quietly fade and the Order of Canada fiasco will stand as a testimony and another victory for the culture of death. And you will see the popular media helpthe issue to die a quiet death.

But the defenders of life are not about to let this happen and so Mr. Gallo’s letter is very timely.
Not only that but Mr. Gallo has sent a letter to all the Knights of Columbus Councils asking that all 230,000 members renew their efforts and to write letters all over again to their member of parliament, to the Prime Minister and to the Governor General. Unfortunately some of the Knights of Columbus members appear to be on the opposite side of the fence.

So, it will be a tough battle to get the job done. Only by consistent pressure, consistent prayers and fasting will the victory be won.

As a final word, I want to tell you about two ladies who spoke to me about this Morgentaler issue.

One was angry when she told me and I quote “how dare they say that they are giving Morgentaler his award because of what he has done for women. What he has done for women is given the vast majority of us a legacy of pain and hurt that will not pass by human intervention. Only God can heal this hurt.

Morgentaler has not helped women as much as they lead us to believe. It is men in fact who stand most to gain by his actions. Who do you think pays the emotional and physical price for this act. Not men. An act which was initiated by a man and woman many time leaves the women alone to pay the price but we never hear about that in the popular media.” Unquote

And another lady who wasn’t as angry but she was very determined not to let the matter die. This lady showed me her 75 letters, all handwritten because she was told this would be most effective because apparently all handwritten correspondence is usually read personally by the recipient as opposed to a secretary who intercepts all emails and typewritten correspondence.

All of her letters were just two or three sentences long. All respectfully demanding that the Order of Canada be rescinded from Morgentaler. All of them sent postage free.

She intends to send one letter a week to the Prime Minister, her member of parliament and the Governor General. She said she will contine to send a letter a week for six months to each of them. She had her letters are all written and ready to go and she showed me the box they were kept in.

Why so many letters? Well her plan is to always keep this issue before the faces of the politicians until victory is won for the right to life for the unborn. She follows up the mailing of her letters with a rosary praying for their success.

The mailing of her letters also keeps the issue fresh in her own mind. She does not want to forget the thousands of babies who are terminated even as she is praying for the perpetrators.

While we may not want to be writing a letter a week to our politicians, I think we have to admire her devotion to the cause of life. They certainly will tire of her persistence, won’t they? She prays with the determination of St. Monica who prayed for years for her playboy son, Augustine, who after fathering an illegitimate child, finally ended up contvertin to the faith, became ordained a priest, and ended up as a Bishop and great doctor of the Church and a Saint.

So you see our job is not to sit in final judgement on our brothers and sisters but rather to pray for their conversion. By following Christ’s example we must show them the way by living the Gospel ourselves.

That is why the church teaches us that we must hate the sin but love the sinner.

That is why we can and must hate abortion and euthanasia and work hard to eliminate it as an evil but we must also love the abortionists and pray for their conversion. We must remember That they are also God’s children and He loves them dearly..

This has always been the church’s teaching even though we her members have not always been faithful in followng her teaching. He would willingly have died on the cross just for Morgentaler alone as He did willingly for each one of us.

Only God has eyes sufficiently discerning and fingers sufficiently gentle for the job of judging and weeding. Weeding ¬out is God's prerogative. Life would be so much better for every¬body, if only we would leave the judging to him. Our job is to pray for our brothers and sisters.

After all, we are our brothers keepers, aren’t we. Dear brothers and sisters – keep up the pressure. Don’t let this issue die a silent death. Be faithful to the end.

Deacon Bernie Ouellette

Monday, July 14, 2008

July 13th 2008 - Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55, 10-11; Psalm 65; Romans 8, 18-23; Matthew 13, 1-23

1 God's generosity – God is sowing abundantly and not sparingly

The parable has strong links with the First Reading from Isaiah. In both we are told that God shares his abundance with us and his plans will not be frustrated. God's creative and nurturing work is compared with rain and snow falling on the earth and not returning until it has given moisture

2 The reality of God's Word

In the whole of Scripture God's word is not just a spoken word. It is a doing word, a creating, life-giving word. It is like a life-bearing seed. God’s Word finally is Jesus Christ Himself. Are we aware of this?

Everything that Jesus said, everything that Jesus did was God communicating to us through Him. Not just His teaching but his whole life, from the hidden years of Nazareth through his public life to his death and resurrection - in all of this Jesus was, and is for us today, the Word of God.

What is my attitude toward the Word of God? How do I see it, how do I accept it? Do I trust Him or I try to intellectualize and adopt the Word of God to my personal lifestyle?

The gospels are unlike any other literature in the history of the world.

They are unique because in them the Word of God, Jesus Christ Himself, speaks to us and instructs us.

Because He knows each of us intimately, His love for us is the perfect answer to our needs.

But we will not grow in the good and joyful life of Christ if the gospel can find no place in us.

When the scriptures are proclaimed in the liturgy we can be "good soil" for the sowing of God's word if we put aside distractions and recognize that it is the most important moment of the week; the one in which the living God speaks to each of us in a perfect way.

But if we are rocky ground, with little depth, or a patch of thorns, with little or no time or attention, the Word will not take root. After 9-11 the Sunday churches were filled. All Masses, hardly a place to sit down. Within a month, Mass attendance got back to normal. Plenty of seats available. Those who pray when danger threatens, but soon forget God, live in rocky soil.

In the parable, much of that Word fell on barren soil.

Barren soil – the path, the trail, the hard track

• Some seed falls on the path. There is no soil here. There is no prospect of the seed taking root. Ears and eyes are closed and unreceptive to the Word of God.
Many refused to hear or to see (hence so many cases of deafness and blindness in the Gospel). Even Jesus' closest disciples many times did not accept His teaching “it’s very difficult to listen to You. How we can eat your body and drink your blood.” Is it today different when so many reject His real presence in the Eucharist?

The barren soil represents those who knows better, who don’t need the Teacher, who don’t understand and are wiser but in reality blind and deaf. They don’t accept the Word because they don’t need it, their soul is as hard as the stone pawed track.

Rocky ground – immediately receives

no root, endures only for a while

• The seed falls on rocky ground in the field where there is a thin layer of soil. The seed takes root, begins to grow but soon gets burnt up by lack of water and the heat of the sun. It is like those Christians who, after baptism or after a retreat or some spiritual experience (like RCIA), have a great rush of enthusiasm for God but, under the slightest pressure, soon run out of steam and fall away. Probably there was no real hearing, no real understanding and hence no real commitment.
So there is a necessity of deepening, of strengthening, developing, takimg care of the seed of the Word of God.

Among thorns – overwhelmed by
- the cares of the world and
- the lure of wealth

• The seed falls on soil where there are many weeds and thorns. It gets smothered by the competing plants. This we might call the "having your cake and eating it" response. I do want to be a good Christian but I also want to have all the things that the world around me thinks important, even if they are in conflict with the Gospel vision. It won't work. We cannot at the same time totally serve God and be a part of the materialistic, consumerist, "success"-hungry world. Probably a very large number of us, in varying degrees, belong in this category. As a result, the Church's work in building the Kingdom is severely hampered by thorns and choked by the lure of wealth.
This choke the word – how many things in my life choke the Word of God in me?

Good soil

• Finally, some of the seed falls in rich, nutritious soil. This soil is like the "man who hears, understands and accepts the Word of God." "He is the one who yields a harvest" in varying degrees of abundance.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

July 06, 2008 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

On July 1st, on Canada Day, while most of us enjoyed Canada Day celebrations with our families, Dr.Henry Morgentaler was awarded the honour of the “Order of Canada”. This was done on our behalf by the committee responsible for the Order of Canada. This was done in spite of wholesale opposition to the appointment.

In order to give Morgentaler the award the committee had to circumvent the usual procedure and appeal to the Governor General to sign the recommendation because they could not come to a unanimous decision on this award. This was done stealthily on the long weekend so that most Canadians would not be at home and so the foul deed could be accomplished without much opposition.

Previous opinion polls conducted by the Globe and mail showed that over 92% of Canadians were opposed to such an award being giving to this notorious abortionist who has killed thousands of babies in their mother’s wombs.

So in spite of the fact that the majority of Canadians were opposed to it – the award was made late on Canada Day and done in your name.

Kelly McPharland, the Politics Editor for the National Post writes:

At a press conference following his naming to the Order of Canada. Dr. Henry Morgentaler acknowledged there were those who questioned his suitability for the honour, but quickly dismissed them in a line: “The negative opinions all come from the usual suspects: The Catholic Church, fundamentalists, women opposed to women’s rights.”

I’ve been thinking about that statement for some time, trying to figure out what it is about it that’s so disquieting. Maybe it’s because I’m none of those things. I’m just a middleclass Canadian who thinks it wrong to take life away from innocents who are incapable of speaking or acting for themselves.

Nobody who works at the National Post is likely to be accused of adhering to the cult of victimhood. But, we’re not completely heartless, and is there a greater definition of a victim than a child, still in the womb, wholly dependent on its mother to live and on the legal system to protect it?

In Canada we guarantee neither of those protections. (Canada is the only civilized country in the world without a law for or against abortion).

There is no law whatsoever on abortion and women are assured it is wholly their right to make the decision on life and death, singly and unilaterally, without interference of any kind pertaining to the right of the being that is to die.

No judge in the country has the authority to render so final and absolute a verdict. We’re a society that purports to care deeply about injustice, and goes to great length to assist those treated unjustly both at home and abroad.

Yet cares nothing at all for those who haven’t quite made it to the delivery room. It’s like introducing the world’s most lenient refugee and immigration program, but only for people able to physically reach our shores: if they get machine-gunned a mile offshore, it’s not our problem.

Recently Audrey and I visited friends of ours for supper and while we were there the evening news came on. The newscaster was talking about a horse that had broken its leg at a race track and had to be put down. The lady of the house immediately voiced her objection to having the TV on so that we had to listen to such “distressing news” Her husband immediately shut the TV off.

I thought isn’t that typical of what we have become as Canadians. If we shut it off – it didn’t happen.

If I don’t hear about it – it’s not my problem. It won’t happen, It didn’t happen or it’s not happening. Well I have news for you – it is happening. Over 96,000 times last year. Over 96,000 screaming little Canadian babies were terminated – killed in your name and with your money. Just like the people of Hitler’s Germany we Canadians have fallen asleep.

The WCR tells us that at a cost to the taxpayer of over $300 million the government of Alberta wants to immunize all of our nine year old girls with Gardasil a vaccine which purportedly guards against them contracting the human papilloma virus. And we are going to let it happen.

This virus is only spread through sexual contact. As parents and grandparents fall asleep at the wheel we are hurtling down the highway of destruction at breakneck speed.

And we will soon wake up to another fait accomplis – euthanasia. Where the elderly and the unwanted are denied treatment and allowed to die. And don’t you think for a minute that it will be long in coming either – if it isn’t already here. If you have anyone elderly in the hospital or nursing home then you better listen to this.
BIRMINGHAM, UK, July 2, 2008 ( - "Ellen Westwood was due to die in February but her family is Catholic and for them, life is sacred." So begins the television coverage by the BBC of a battle by a Birmingham family to prevent the NHS (National Health Service) from dehydrating their mother to death.

According to the BBC's report, doctors decided on a Friday in February that Mrs. Westwood was "due to die" by the following Monday, but the family, with the intervention of their priest, fought the order to remove the woman's hydration.

Mrs. Ellen Westwood, 88, was in Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital for two months after she had been admitted into Birmingham's Royal Orthopaedic Hospital for routine shoulder surgery. The woman ended up being treated for dementia and C.difficile, which Westwood's daughter alleges she contracted at the Orthopaedic Hospital after the surgery. The bacterial infection soon spread to her cheeks, face and throat, making it difficult for her to swallow.

Doctors at Selly Oak Hospital then told the family that all food, fluids and hydration were to be stopped and that Mrs. Westwood would be given morphine "because she is dying".

Ellen's daughter, Kathleen Westwood, told the BBC that the decision had been taken because it was "a capacity ruling" and that under current UK law, the family's wishes do not enter into the equation.

"If you deem somebody to have lost capacity, then the doctors can act in the best interests," she said.

The family had an interview with doctors on a Friday afternoon, in which they were told that Mrs. Westwood was going to die.

"In [the doctors'] view the best interests was for my mother to die - and clearly by Monday she would have been dead," Kathleen told BBC.

The family, however, brought the woman food and water. Hospital officials responded by threatening to report the family to social services for feeding Mrs. Westwood.

"We said we don't want this to happen and they said 'it's happening, sorry'. I had to fight very, very hard to get it stopped."

Eventually the family obtained a second opinion and Mrs. Westwood was able to go home, where she is recovering well and is celebrating her 89th birthday today.

Under the UK's Mental Capacity Act, passed in 2005, patients deemed to be incapable of making decisions in their own "best interests" can have all fluids withheld until they die. The family can do little to stop this process once doctors have made their decision.

While active euthanasia officially remains illegal in Britain, some are saying that the NHS standard procedure of issuing elderly and vulnerable patients with an "end of life plan" that includes dehydration, is simply euthanasia under a different name.

And it is becoming common. A packed meeting this week in Stafford heard the stories of families who had been forced to bring in priests and lawyers to stop similar orders from killing their loved ones, even though the patients sometimes are not terminally ill.

As Canadians and especially as Catholic Christians we cannot let this stuff sneak into our country. We were sleeping at the wheel on abortion and on same sex marriage.

We cannot let this continue. We must all get involved in the debate. You must make your opinions count by contacting your elected representatives.

If we fail to act then we are just as guilty as those who are doing the actual abortions and killings. Because they are using your tax dollars and your permission to do it.

If we sit back and do nothing then the next life they snuff out for the sake of money may very well be someone we love. Think about your children and grandchildren – or your potential children and grandchildren – do you really want the government to decide whether they live or die. Because if continue to sit back and say nothing – like they did in Hitler’s Germany – we can expect the same results because history does repeat itself.

Jesus warns us that we are our brother’s keeper. We can sin when we do something wrong but can also sin by doing nothing to prevent the sin about us especially when all it takes is a letter, and email or a phone call to let your opinion count.

The Son God came to earth to heal us of original sin. He did this not in some great and spectacular display of power but rather in the quiet force of truth and love. Meekness and humility like those of Christ are not easy for us. But Jesus stood up for what was right and was willing to lay down his life so that we might live – can we not do the same so that the innocent might live?

I close now with this statement released by Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto.

Canada's highest honour has been debased. Henry Morgentaler has been awarded the Order of Canada. We are all diminished.

A community's worth is measured by the way it treats the most vulnerable, and no one is more vulnerable than in the first nine months of life's journey. No person may presume to judge the soul of Henry Morgentaler, but it cannot be denied that the effect of his life's work has been a deadly assault upon the most helpless amongst us.

Canada glories in the names of Banting and Best, and the other medical heroes who selflessly brought healing where there was disease and suffering. Now it honours with the Order of Canada a medical man who has brought not healing, but the destruction of the defenseless and immeasurable grief. This award must not stand.

I earnestly appeal to all who are tempted to resort to an abortionist, or are pressured to do so by those around them. I urge you to contact organizations such as Birthright, and others who will support you and love you and your precious child. Contact your parish. We are here for you. I pledge to you the support of the Catholic Church. Look to our archdiocesan website at for information concerning places where you may find loving help.

For those who have had an abortion, and bear within your heart the fearful grief, I urge you to contact us, to find love and support in your anguish, and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to find the gift of inner peace.

I ask the faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and all people of good will, to protest this act of dishonour. Write, phone, or e-mail the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and your Member of Parliament. Ask that this action be revoked.

This coming Sunday will be a day of special prayer in the Archdiocese of Toronto, for an end to the evil of abortion. I have asked that the following prayer be inserted in the Prayer of the Faithful in all the churches of the archdiocese:

"That the scourge of abortion be lifted from our land, that those who promote it may be brought to a change of heart, that all who are tempted to abortion may be lovingly helped to protect the precious gift of life, and that all who have experienced an abortion may be comforted with the healing gift of love." Amen.

It’s not like Canadians to sit back and be overrun by a small minority who have used government agencies to put forth their agendas and a great cost to the majority. They have gotten away with and they continue to get away with it because the popular media squashes anyone who dare oppose this minority and the vast majority of us say absolutely nothing. They know this and so that is why the vocal minority get what they want. We say nothing and let it happen.

Let’s make up our minds right now to do something about it. Don’t let this week go by without making your opinion count. If we don’t do it – nobody else will do it for us. Join with Archbishop Collins - Contact your representatives and ask them to do what they must to rescind the Order of Canada award to Morgentaler as a start to taking back our Canada.

Jesus says ”Come to me, all who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.

Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”


Deacon Bernie Ouellette