Today we celebrated the 50th anniversary of a couple in our parish. Now I don't know about you, but these people celebrating 50 years together seem to be younger and younger. Maybe because I am looking at them from a closer perspective with regard to age. It was nice to see Francis and Alfredo surrounded by family and friends, both in fairly good health, able to enjoy life.
But there is another thing that I am noticing these days. It has become the norm for unmarried couples to live together whether marriage is in their future or not. And they're not shy about letting you know the situation. More and more, babies before marriage are becoming the rule rather than the exception. It saddens me when I read birth announcements and more than half of the babies are being born to couples who are not married. Sometimes only the mother is listed. While I am profoundly grateful that these mothers have chosen life rather than abortion, in many instances adoption would have been the more compassionate choice.
I make no moral judgements here; I just wonder about this decline in the family. I work in a public school. Students tell me things. Shocking things. Sad things. Things that make me go home and cry. Things that make me fear for my grandchildren and the challenges they will face in this world. And now, in the schools, high school students can dual enroll - meaning they are exposed to college life and college lifestyles earlier and earlier. Academics and financial considerations aside, I'm not sure that exposing younger students to life on campus is a good thing. But what do I know? I am becoming that old lady who remembers how it was in my day, when girls had to wear dresses to school, and gym class wasn't co-ed. Yeah, I'm that old. Where's the beef!
Word of the day:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."
Thoughts from the cornfield:
You know, it's easy to read this passage and think about what awful people those Pharisees were, especially since the Pharisees seemed to have bought into their own hype. But before we spend too much time looking around our logs in order to better see the splinters beneath their phylacteries, we might want to examine our own behavior. How often do we expect more from others than we ourselves are willing to give?
I've often said that if you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats waitresses and dry cleaners. People in service industries could tell you tales that would curl your hair. Such snobbery is alive and well in today's world. And, sad to say, it is most rampant in the Church - particularly in ministry. I am no exception. There has been many a morning when the mouth I used to sing God's praise, was being used earlier to put someone else down - and it makes no matter whether that person was righteous or not. The shortcoming is still in my inventory. The behavior of others should not have a bearing on whether or not I act out of love.
But I digress. Those poor unlovable Pharisees. Jesus loved them too, ya know. Thank God for that.
God bless the troops!