Rev. John Kha Tran

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had an open heart bypass surgery. He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic Hospital. As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his treatment. She asked if he had health insurance.

He replied, in a raspy voice, "No health insurance."
The nun asked if he had money in the bank.
He replied, "No money in the bank."
The nun asked, "Do you have a relative who could help you?"
He said, "I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun."

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, "Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God."
The patient replied, "You can send the bill to my brother-in-law."

Jesus might not be directly paying for our medical bills, but he is definitely paying the bills for our salvation. St. John describes God’s love for us with a famous quote from Jesus, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him."

Free Offerings

We love anything giving to us free. Every day, I receive emails from different marketing ads promising free laptop, free ipad, free samples of Vitamin supplements, free magazines, free books, free movies, free songs etc. When I check into the offering, they begin to ask for my credit card, mailing address and other personal information. And later, I find out that it is not really free. It is only the bait. I have to commit to pay them after a try out.

We love things that are free, but it is only bait. Many people are excitedly supporting the policy of President Obama’s Administration and the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services forcing virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception-including abortifacient drugs-subject to an exemption for "religious employers" that is arbitrarily narrow. The administration is doing this to coerce the women voters. They also want to coerce Catholic voters by superficially making some compromise to narrowly allow some exemption to make the administration look good. I see the action of this current administration as baiting.

Last week, The U. S. Catholic Bishops have clarified that the Catholic Church is not fighting the access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church's hand and with the Church's funds. This is not about the Catholic Church forcing her teachings on others. It is about our religious freedom. It is about the federal government forcing the Church to act against Church teachings. It is about an unwarranted government definition of religion. The mandate includes an extremely narrow definition of what HHS deems a "religious employer" deserving exemption. The introduction of this unprecedented defining of faith communities and their ministries has precipitated this struggle for religious freedom.” (United For Religious Freedom, U. S. Catholics. March, 2012).

Painful Observation

It is painful for us to see our leaders and many people of our nation are abandoning the vision of the Nation’s Founders.  America seems no longer being a proud champion of freedom and Christian values. It is no longer embracing the belief, “In God We Trust.” We are being deceived and misled by the evil force under the disguises of human rights and freedom of speech, tempting us to become our own gods and follow our own set of rules. Our nation now is openly worship abortion, enshrine homosexuality, and degrades the sanctity of traditional marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman is honored and respected fundamentally because it is the source of human life. God, the Creator, uses marriage to continue the works of His creation. God blesses the marriage of a man and a woman because their love for each other and for their children is the signs of God’s love for the world and for humanity. Many of our people and leaders are abandoning these values. We are being deceived and misled by evil forces under the disguised masks of compassion, diversity, benevolence, fairness, equal rights, preventive health care for women, or social justice. We are being tricked into agreeing with the secular cultural melting pop of ideas to be fair¸ compromising, and open minded citizens of democracy. It seems America is becoming Satan’s favorite playground.

The Bishops are inviting all of us to join together in prayer and penance for our leaders and for the complete protection of our First Freedom-religious liberty-which is not only protected in the laws and customs of our great nation, but rooted in the teachings of our great Tradition. Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength-for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible.

The Goal for Humanity

The Scriptural readings this Sunday give us important insights about God:
- God loves.
- God gives.
- God forgives.
- God saves.

No matter how sinful we are. God will continue loving us. God continues to provide for our needs. God will continue to forgive us, because His goal is to save us. Salvation is God’s goal for humankind. Jesus reminds Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, and so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Jesus uses the story in the Book of Numbers to tell us about the sins of infidelity of God’s people. On the way to freedom, the chosen people lost their patience and spoke against God and Moses. They only thought of their earthly physical needs. They became ungrateful to God and to Moses. So God sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many Israelites were bitten and died. Finally the people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Now pray to the Lord to take these snakes away." So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told Moses to make a metal snake and put it on a pole, so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and be healed." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who had been bitten would look at the bronze snake and be healed" (Numbers 21:4- 9).

Jesus died on the cross is the new sign of the power of healing. Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. It is our mission to proclaim Jesus Christ to the people of our nation. Do not be afraid to profess our faith in Jesus and in the power of his Cross. The cross of Jesus has a significant place in the Church and a powerful impact of our faith. The cross is the sign to remind us that we are saved by Jesus Christ.  It is an invitation to look at Jesus; when we look at Jesus and believe in Him, we will be saved. When we believe in Jesus, we will follow his way. When we follow his way, we will have salvation. He is the light of the world. Following him means we will walk in the light. The light will lead us to salvation, to eternal life. We want to share this Good News with our nation and our people.

Sadly, even Jesus had to say, "That the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. Everyone who does wicked things hates the light . . . But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God." Christians are living in the truth and walking in the light of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus is inviting you and me to look at him, to faithfully follow him, the light, and to invite others to abandon their walk in darkness and join us on our journey to salvation.