+ Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany +
February 6, 2011
“Commandments of the Kingdom” Matthew 5:19-20
Even as we rejoice in the free gift of forgiveness, Jesus reveals the Commandments of the Kingdom that lead us safely through this vale of tears to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
“What if I told you there was a well-researched and statistically proven program that can:
• increase the average life expectancy of your children by 8 years
• significantly reduce their use and risk from Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
• dramatically lower their risk of suicide
• help them rebound from depression 70% faster
• dramatically reduce their risk for committing a crime
• improve their attitude at school and increase their school participation
• reduce their risk for rebelliousness
• reduce the likelihood that they would binge drink in college
• improve their odds for a "very happy" life
• provide them with a life-long moral compass
• and get them to wear their seatbelts more often
“Is there such a program? Yes, there is.
“And it is supported by research from Duke University, Indiana University, The University of Michigan, The Center for Disease Control, Barna Research Group, and the National Institute for Healthcare Research. “How much would a program like this be worth to you? What if I told you it was free, and only took about 2 hours a week. Take a look at the list again.
It's not a dream. The program is called "active church participation."
“In study, after study, after study, children who actively engage in a faith community on a regular basis are rewarded with SIGNIFICANTLY reduced likelihood of problems and risks, and significantly improved odds of a happier, healthier, longer life. These studies show the same results for adults as well.
“To increase the odds of receiving these results, you can't wait. According to a Barna Research Group study, adults who attended church regularly as children are nearly three times as likely to be attending a church today as their peers who avoided church during childhood (61% to 22%, respectively). In other words, parents who truly want the best for their children should get their children involved at church now and regularly.”
1. Don’t RELAX them
a. Take God’s Word seriously! Wedding band illustration: I’ll marry you and wear this band on three (3) conditions: 1. I will keep my old boy/girl friends; 2. I will see you only once a week, and 3. I will keep our relationship a secret. How many would enter holy matrimony under such condition? How many would treat God with such contempt and expect to be taken seriously by God?
b. Personal responsibility or self-government = peace and prosperity.
2. DO them
a. In daily prayer and meditation
b. In daily action toward God and your neighbor: Love and respect, honor and obey our parents; respect and protect all human life from conception to natural death; all married persons love and honor their husband or wife and each of be sexually pure in all that we think, say or do; respect and protect the property of others; help protect and defend our neighbor’s good name and reputation and explain everything in the kindest possible way.
3. TEACH them
a. Signs in the yard/billboards are better than county courthouse
4. EXCEED them
a. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
b. By putting on Christ crucified in Baptism and abiding in Christ risen in the Supper.
O divine fruit of the Virgin’s womb, may I love you in union with the holy mother of God. Fill my life with the obedience of St. Joseph and the missionary fervor of the shepherds so that the witness of my life may shine like the star that led the Magi to your manger.