“Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Or can Sarah give birth at ninety?”

This reading brings a smile to my face everytime I hear it proclaimed. NO, not because my wife is named Sarah and I tease her about this all the time…and I do. I smile because a very close friend of ours from Decatur – Dr. William Hoffman (God rest his soul) – had lost his first wife of many years, found another love and married again in what we will refer to as his senior years. Sarah and I were at the wedding and I pointed out to her during the vows that they omitted the line that they would lovingly accept children from God. It just so happened that I was ask to give a toast at the wedding reception, so I opened up my Bible to this exact passage from today’s readings and merely substituted the name William where Abraham was mentioned and the name Patty where Sarah was mentioned. The things I’ll do to get a laugh…

Today’s readings actually have another thought that comes to mind. I am thinking of how our great Nation came to be, the sacrifices made by many, many people so long ago that founded our Country. A group of individuals who were willing to sacrifice all that they had in order to be able to be free to sing their praises to God unfettered by the rules of a King. When I think of all they had to sacrifice in coming across the waters to a strange land, the hardships they had to endure, starting over in a completely unknown land another thought comes to mind. Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it.

Their trust in God was so absolute that they were willing to give up all they had – many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice in giving up their life for this cause (and many still do) – in order to be free to practice their faith. You don’t have to look far to see how much they believed in God – pull out any piece of American currency and you’ll find the words “In God We Trust” emboldened on each one. Recite the Pledge and you’ll hear the words “One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.”

So take a few minutes to reflect on the beauty of our Responsorial Psalm today…

Responsorial Psalm

128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R. (4) See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.

These words still ring true today – if we let them. Blessed are WE who fear the Lord, Blessed are WE who walk in His ways. We shall eat the fruit of His handiwork, blessed shall WE be, and favored. See how the Lord blesses those who fear Him. This is not a “question”; this is a statement. SEE HOW THE LORD BLESSES THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. I see this great nation of ours turning away from a fear of God and taking on an arrogance that MAN’s way is the path we must follow. I pray that I am wrong and I pray daily for this great land we call the United States of America. I also take great comfort in the fact that as long as this Country is still alive and breathing, it will never be too late to amend our ways and learn to place the future of America in God’s hands again. We should be like the leper in today’s Gospel and cry out to Jesus at the top of our proverbial lungs…”Lord, if You wish, You can make us clean!!”.

Do something great for our Lord today – keep our Nation great by pledging your allegiance to the Holy Will of God. You do that and you will see how the Lord blesses those who fear Him.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease. (from yesterday’s Gospel)

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean. (from Today’s Gospel)

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

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