We Wisconsinites have a deeper sense of appreciation for summer than our fellow citizens from the South. It is time for vacations, travel, cookouts and family reunions (though the coronavirus has put a definite damper on a lot of that). Since six of my siblings still live in the La Crosse area, we always find an excuse to get together, though we sometimes head out to South Dakota, where some of the family now lives. We save money by putting up all the “out of towners” at the homes of those who live in the area. We get some pretty full houses. My parents (now both deceased) had 12 children (two are now deceased), 48 grandchildren, and over 90 great- grandchildren. Including the spouses of their children and grandchildren, they have nearly 200 descendants. (When you get this many, who can keep count?!) As the “family priest” it is my pleasant responsibility to preside at a fair number of baptisms and weddings. I don’t bring this up to brag about my family – after all, I am not the cause of this big family, only one of the many happy beneficiaries – but to reflect upon the fruitfulness of human love which is possible by God’s Grace. The scripture readings of today’s Mass, especially Isaiah and Matthew, speak to us about God’s Word, which potentially “bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” Is God’s fruitfulness not also demonstrated in the blessings of children, by which the human family - made in the image of God - grows and develops? Too frequently children are seen merely as burdens, or as a “drain” on our material resources. Such an attitude is the “corrupt fruit” of a culture of death. But the Gospel of Jesus is a “Gospel of Life”! I feel tremendously blessed by God to have been born into my family (the eleventh of twelve!). My mother, at her death, had over direct 120 descendants. What a blessing that she lived to see her “hundredfold” and more!
May God bless you!