A Harmful Transition

01-30-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the very first executive orders President Biden issued was on the topic of transgenderism. How is it that this issue has risen to the top of our society so quickly and with such force behind it? Maybe I am misreading the US public but it doesn't seem like an issue that majorities were clamoring to be addressed by the new President in his first hours in office.

The issue of transgenderism or more specifically gender dysphoria affects about .03% of the population. Those who struggle with it deserve our love and care and the best medical sciences can offer them as well as emotional, mental and spiritual support. For some reason the current push is all in one direction: finding ways, medically that enable a person to transition from one sex to the other. This includes the use of hormones and surgeries such as mastectomies and hysterectomies for biological women and removal of the penis for biological men. This is being done despite the clinical and medical evidence that these treatments are physically harmful, have long-term negative health outcomes and based on long term research as well as the experience of those who have undergone such treatments, do not offer long term and lasting solutions.

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Our readings today remind us of God’s authority.

01-30-2021Stewardship Reflection

As we reflect on our Gospel, we recognize that God possesses all authority and that we want to give Him all authority. Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the sabbath. All were fixed on His words and astonished at what He had to say. Suddenly everyone’s attention shifted to a man with an unclean spirit who began to question Jesus and His authority. Jesus responded, “Quiet, come out of him!” and removed the evil spirit from the man. All were amazed at the healing of this man.

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Today’s Readings Call Us To Be Decisive In Our Faith.

01-24-2021Stewardship Reflection

Simon, Andrew, James and John demonstrate this decision for us in their response to Christ’s calling, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." In both instances, the men immediately abandoned what was before them and followed Christ.

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I Have a Dream

01-23-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When the MLK Holiday comes around I always like to read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It always blows me away. It is one of the greatest speeches in American history, right up there with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. The part of the speech that struck me this year was this:

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

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A Mob by Any Other Name Is Still a Mob

01-16-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Maybe it’s that I have been desensitized to the mob, but watching the events in the Capital Building I was pretty much unfazed. Not that I condone any of it, I don’t and I would not join in or encourage anyone to do so. But I thought, “another group of angry people with grievances acting out in unacceptable ways.” Even as I watched Arizona guy, horned and bare-chested standing in the Speaker’s spot, it seemed to me that he was at least, in all his weirdness, being honest about who he is, unlike so many of the pols that often stand in the same spot.

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Everyday Stewardship

01-10-2021Stewardship Reflection

Our Christmas season concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus was not baptized because he needed to repent — rather, He was revealing who He is and what He came to do.

It is from His mission that we can receive the sacrament of baptism — when we become adopted sons and daughters of God. From that moment, we belong to Christ — we become His stewards. Our lives should be a re"ection of this relationship. The way we live should reveal Whose we are.

In our First Reading, the prophet Isaiah shares a message of hope, “Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy?” We should ask ourselves, "Who is the king of our hearts?" As Christian stewards, it should be God. We often $ll our lives with things that satisfy us only for a moment. If we truly do belong to Christ, then we will make Him our top priority. What we $ll our lives with should reveal that He is King. In our Gospel, Mark reveals the intimate relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and God the Father proclaimed, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” We, too, have access to an intimate relationship with God. But like all good relationships, it "ourishes with effort. How we spend our time and share our gifts says a great deal about Whose we are.

Tear down this wall?

01-09-2021Fr. John's LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Recently, while driving, I saw a truck with the words “Tempe Traffic Enforcement”. I thought why do we need that? After all there are traffic signals and signs, yellow and white lines on the road all indicating how we should drive. Isn’t that enough? Why do we put the force of law behind those signals and signs? And why then do we need some form of law enforcement personnel to enforce the driving rules? Can’t we just be allowed to drive and trust that it will all work out just fine?

“It doesn't work that way”, you say. Some people will abuse the system and put us all in jeopardy. Even with the rules and the enforcement of the rules and penalties and fines we still have problems. Accidents which clog up traffic, injuries which use up medical resources and of course the ever-increasing car insurance rates. Speaking of which, Arizona has one of the highest-in-the-country car insurance rates, despite traffic enforcement, which shows you how many people still abuse the driving rules even with enforcement. So no, removing traffic enforcement most likely will not make driving any better or safer or quicker.

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