Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalms 27:1, and 2 Timothy 1:7

Brothers and Sisters,

Have you heard the term “marrying up?”  I remember hearing the term many times among my aunts and uncles when I was growing up.  My understanding of the term is that it means you have married someone who raises you up in some way:  maybe the person you married has more money or a higher-paying career, maybe the person is more intelligent or better able to handle stress, maybe the person you married has some special skills or traits that will be helpful in the day-in-day-out struggles of life.  My grandfather advised me, along with all of my cousins, to marry someone smarter than us as did he.

Of course the priest is only “married” to the Church in a manner of speaking, but I am fully confident that Grandpa would agree that insofar as the priest is “married” to the Church, I have indeed “married up” – that is, I have “married someone” (so to speak) who is much smarter than I am.

Holy Mother Church has been working for nearly two thousand years on communicating the Gospel, helping the human family to be holy, and getting everyone who loves God into Heaven.  One of the nearly countless ways the Church has gone about these missions is to create a liturgical year that works with the cycle of human life.

During the Autumn months, the readings for both daily Mass and Sunday Mass will shift towards the recognition of our death and individual judgement.  As the weeks of Fall roll on, please pay attention to the readings at Mass as they ask us to recognize that life on Earth is short and that our judgement as individual humans and the judgement of the whole human race will come.

For the Church, this is not a scary thing.  Please recognize that fact:  we who live out the Faith with good works are not afraid of our “final exam.”  Just as a hard-working student has done all the homework, listened carefully to the lectures, studied all the material, and has become familiar with the subject matter is not worried about the final exam, so also the Christian who has spent a lifetime attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, listened carefully to Bible readings and priest homilies, sacrificed both money and time for the good of the Church and of the poor, and has been a strong example of holiness of life and purity of heart will not fear what Christ has to say at the end of one’s life.

Saint John Paul the Great, pope from 1978-2005, often quoted the biblical mandate:  be not afraid.  This is so important:  fear of God does not mean terror of God.  It is our of respect and admiration that the Christian works desperately to please God by our actions.  If you, as a student of the Holy Faith, work strongly at being a Christian, then your final exam should be easy; but rather than an A+, may your grade be Matthew 25:23.

God be near,

Father Jeremy