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August 19th, 2001
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August 19th, 2001

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Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lk 12/49-53

Background:

The Gospel today continues the emphasis on urgency in the message of Jesus. He is not praising family quarrels. Nor is he advocating them. But he is saying that, however essential family ties may be, we cannot permit them to interfere, in the really and truly important things in life. There are no magic formulae for balancing the demands of family and the demands of faith. Usually we must try to respond to both. No one can use God as an excuse for abjuring responsibility to spouse and children and parents. Yet there are times when we are backed into a corner and must choose.

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Once upon a time at the end of a summer vacation, a young man called his mother and father and brothers and sisters together after a day on the beach. There was something important he wanted to tell them. He was going into his third year at college (pick whatever one you want). His grades were wonderful, he was charming, and popular, and successful. Everyone   expected he would do important things in life. His father was a medical doctor and from the day this eldest son was born he assumed that the boy would follow him into his profession. There had never been any discussion of the matter. No discussion was necessary. Occupational inheritance was taken for granted. So what was the important subject he wanted to talk about? Well, you guess it. He had the crazy idea he wanted to be a priest. In fact, he was going to the seminary in September. There was a moment of dead silence. Then the father said that no son of his was going to become a priest. He had no respect for priests. They were parasites. If his son wanted to be a priest, then he would no longer be his son. Then the father stormed out of the room and left everyone in silence. You have ruined our family, his mother told him. Are you gay, said one of his brothers. You never did like girls, his sister added.

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Then the father stormed out of the room and left everyone in silence
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