Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle C http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022816-third-sunday-lent.cfm
Georgetown University and Harvard Law School graduate, University of Chicago professor, United States Supreme Court Justice. Acknowledging Justice Scalia’s many achievements, Reverend Paul Scalia, preaching at his father’s funeral Mass, continued, “but more important to us and to him, he was dad. He was the father that God gave us for the great adventure of family life. … He loved us and sought to show that love. And sought to share the blessing of the faith he treasured. And he gave us one another, to have each other for support. This is the greatest wealth parents can bestow.” Evidently, Antonin Scalia and his wife, Maureen, had cultivated faith, bearing rich fruit through their nine children and thirty-six grandchildren.
This Sunday’s Gospel causes us to pause and ponder on the fruit we are or are not bearing. Coupled with the first reading of Moses’ encounter with the burning bush, our fruit is clearly associated with remembering, “I AM” “through all generations.” Pope Francis recently posed questions on bearing fruit: “What is the inheritance I will leave with my life? Will I leave the inheritance of a man, a woman of faith? Will I leave this inheritance to my children?”Later, he asserts: “The best thing we can pass down in life is our faith, faith in the true God, the God who is with us always, God who is our Father never disappoints.”
As parents, our primary task and our greatest legacy—our richest fruit—comes from creating a family of love where God’s name is “remembered through all generations.” St. John Paul II reflects on the importance of parents as leaders of faith in their own domestic Churches: “Thus the little domestic Church, like the greater Church, … ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates…the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home.” Bearing fruit—forming our children into disciples of Jesus Christ—remains our first and foremost duty, privilege, and joy.
As parents/grandparents, we bear fruit as we name grace—God’s presence—in the domestic church by loving and serving one another. We name grace by taking off our sandals and recognizing our homes as holy ground. We name grace by praying, sharing the Gospel, and proclaiming God’s wonderful works. We name grace by bringing our children to the community of faith and participating in the perfect worship—the perpetual remembrance of God through all generations—of the Mass.
Many parents and grandparents have spent years/decades faithfully cultivating, fertilizing, and watering their children’s faith, with little or no evidence of bearing fruit. But we must not be discouraged, for the LORD is kind, merciful, and patient. God witnesses our suffering, hears our cry, and listens to our prayers on behalf of our children and grandchildren. God is faithful for He is the Father who does not disappoint. No matter how great our achievements, nothing is as worthwhile as making God known and “remembered through all generations.” Now, that’s good news!
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding parents in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.
 Familiaris Consortio, n. 51-52.
Always a drama queen, she threw her books across the room, slammed herself against the school green concrete wall, pounded her fists and cried. Within moments, a flock of friends surrounded her, offering comfort, support, even adoration. Of course, she deserved more. Of course, he was wrong. Of course, she was right. Her behavior rivaled any two-year old tantrum, as she demanded the world revolve around her. Her ego dictated that others worship her—the all-important “I.”
The First Sunday of Lent drives us into the desert to face the stark question: Whom do you worship? Elizabeth Scalia, writes in StrangeGods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life: “… how convenient it is that the word idol begins with i.” She reflects on the Israelites’ worship of the golden calf: “The reflective gold gave them admiration of their strength and greatness, which they could confirm with their own eyes, mirrored back at them.” By peering into the looking glass, they were able to worship self. Since Adam and Eve, we have chosen self over the God who created, freed, and saved us.
Often unnoticed, unintentional, and even disguised as a good, we worship the “I.” We worship our freedom and declare, “I choose;” we worship our stomachs and claim, “I want;” we worship our rights and demand, “I deserve.” According to Scalia, we worship the “super-idol”—our ideas—and defend our Ideologies, even until death. We worship ourselves and boldly assert, “I AM.”
Lent attempts to draw us out of self-adoration to the worship of the Living God. Scalia asserts, “The key to the Christian life begins with confronting and amending the self, rather than indulging it.” Resisting the temptation to worship anything—anyone—other than self requires humility, sacrifice, and surrender to the will of God. “Such surrender is the ultimate disenthrallment and the banisher of all idols, even the super idols.”
As parents/grandparents, we name grace by affirming our children are deeply and infinitely loved, but NOT the center of the universe. We name grace as we model humility and resist the temptation to be right, first, or best. We name grace when we humbly pray at home and when we bring our children to the perfect worship of the Mass. We name grace as we teach our children God’s commandment, “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”
Though the tantrum of a two-year old may seem cute as he or she struts around like a little dictator, it becomes much less attractive as he or she eventually wreaks havoc by demanding to be worshipped. Some people spend their entire lives worshipping self and expecting others to bow to their ideas, choices, wishes, and desires.
When we confess Jesus Christ as Lord, place our gifts at the altar, and bow to worship Him in the Eucharist, we give the One, True, God all honor, power, and glory. Though we at times revert to childish ways, we can trust that Jesus, whose very name is mercy, will accept us back—if we but humbly surrender to His Lordship. Now, that’s good news!
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.