“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit…”
This past Friday I celebrated a wedding for a beautiful young couple. At the end of the ceremony I greeted the little 5 year-old flower girl and jokingly asked her, “Are you getting married too?” Before she could answer, her mother interrupted and said, “No, Father! Not until she gets her college degree!” I was shocked, to say the least. That wasn't the answer I was expecting. I was expecting something more like, “Well, not until she matures” or “Not until she finds the right man” or “Not until she falls in love.” I have to say, I wasn’t expecting such a ridiculous answer.
Not too long ago, I baptized the latest member of a family of eight. The couple has been very blessed financially and spiritually. They became pregnant with their first child when she was sixteen and he was fifteen. Of course, the couple was not married, yet. But immediately, they were faced with some pretty tough decisions. The young man’s father demanded that he make a choice: either the family or the girl (and baby). If he chose the girl, then he would have to leave the home. He chose. He chose the girl (and baby).
After more than twenty-five years of marriage, the couple is still amazed at all they have accomplished. He has always been blessed with a job, even as a teenager. She has been blessed working at home and being able to give her children the very best. They continue to send the children to private schools. They have a beautiful home, beautiful children, and a wonderful life. But if you were to ask them what their greatest accomplishment has been, they would not hesitate in saying, “We have learned to trust the Lord in all things.”
What has always been man’s greatest problem? We are control freaks! We want to control everything. We trust in ourselves way too much and not enough in the Lord. If we could, we would plan everything out! We would plan all our meals, design our own children, and build our own lives. And all based upon the ideas of others!
What is our greatest problem today? We trust way too much in the government. The HHS mandate is just the latest tip of the latest iceberg.
Do you know what is really wrong with the HHS mandate? I mean really, really wrong with it? It discourages us from being funny! It frowns upon the humor of life! It takes away the little and big surprises in life. The government would just love to manage everyone’s life. And the best way to manage anything is to make everything (everyone) the same shape; every family the same size; every life lived the exact same way.
If there is one thing that makes life exciting, it’s got to be the natural fact that not one life is lived the same way! All of us have been given a God given opportunity to be surprised and to surprise.
I don’t want to sound alarmist, but the perfect storm, capable of wiping away every joy, is fast approaching our nation. All the elements are there: a much dummied down educational system; a people that lacks strong faith and hope (or vision); and the lure (opium) of security and entitlements. All the above are quickly turning us into a nation of selfish people who ask not what I can do for my country but rather “what my country can do for me!”
If we continue along this path (I should say, ‘plan’) we are going to miss out on the funnier things in life.
The problem with entitlements and mandates is that it does not encourage life; it discourages it. Why? Because it must pay for it!
What makes earth significant is not the size of its "budget". What makes earth so significant is life; it is geared towards life. It loves life! Now think at how ridiculous we are! Think about it for a moment. The earth is very bizarre, extremely rare and absolutely remarkable in only one way: it has life. And here we are, a fruit of the earth, and God forbid that a child gets in the way of our plans! How stupid!
Joseph was about to divorce his wife. This would have been the easiest thing to do and probably the wisest thing to do. But instead of being wise and economical, practical, logical and efficient, Joseph chose to be holy, and so he listen to God and did not sin. He chose to take a chance, to risk it all and be surprised. He didn't place his confidence in himself! He placed his confidence in God.
In God we trust. That's what our founding fathers used to say as they all laughed in the face of the King of England!
God bless Joseph. He must have laughed a lot throughout his life.
St. Joseph, pray for us!