When we look at the Catholicism of our church today, and we look at the great things done by the saints,by the apostles, by the wonderful examples we have in the 2000 years of history, we wonder where the power of God is and what happened to the fervor of Christianity. It seems, in comparison to the sanctity of the past which has flourished, that there is so little sanctity now. As I have cautioned you in the past, and will caution you again, it is important to remember that very often the greatest saints of the church during those times when the church experienced its greatest corruption. And so yes, we had St. Francis, but we also had bishops who were leading lives of the greatest luxury and sin, all at the same time. God is never to be blamed for the lack of cooperation with His grace. God is not stingy. If therefore at any time in the church we see that things are not as they should be, the fault is always, and only, with us in the church, and not with the Lord.
For the charity of Christ compelled us: judging this, that if one died for all, then all were dead. And Christ died for all; that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but to him who died for them, and rose again.
2 Cor 5:14-15
St. Paul makes the best possible argument for loving Jesus with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength when he reminds us that Christ died for all, because all, he said, were dead. He means dead due to original sin, dead further due to actual sin. And so he says if Christ died for all, all should live for Christ. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus Christ gathered around himself the twelve apostles, including Judas Iscariot. Judas, who had already accepted 30 pieces of silver to betray Him. And on that night, He sent Judas away with the somewhat mysterious words, so that the others would not understand, “that which you do, do quickly.” And Judas immediately got up and left. Judas having departed, He then began a very long spiritual talk found only in the gospel of John. In one simple line, he reminded them of His unmatchable love for you and for me: “Greater love than this, no man has than a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) That theme we want to remember.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.
Because of the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, there is in us a selfishness that shows itself every day. We want life to be what we want it to be. We have our hopes and our dreams and our plans, and our likes and dislikes in people, food, entertainment and music. And this comes into the area of religion as well. We have our favorite churches, our favorite prayers, our favorite music in the church, our favorite Mass times, our favorite place to sit in church, our favorite priests. Everything we have are preferences. And as much as we fight against it, still, we very much like to have it our way. But Jesus says to put God first, and God takes care of you. He gives you what you need. He does not give you, however, what you want.
Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.
That is really all that there is to do. The rest of the things we do are living out those two commandments. In our times, many different beliefs are under attack, from inside of the church, and we respond by holding to what is taught by the church. We look to the teachings in scripture, tradition, to the infallable teachings of the church, to traditional catechisms, to the doctors of the church, and we find the truth. We want our young people to learn that truth as well. There is, however, something that has crept into that desire to be right which is problematic. Within the traditional movement, because we have struggled to have what is right, and what is reverent, that we have tended at times – not all, but some – towards two things, two capital sins: anger and pride.
We have to acknowledge that the internet is a much more powerful force than television. It can be used by anyone on a number of devices, for anything at all. It is much more flexible than TV. It also has an enormous amount of smut available, much more than TV. It was foolish optimism that got us into trouble with TV. And yet it was precisely the television set that swept away the Christian culture in the West.
It is important that we are not naive about the internet as we were naive about the television set. 90% of young people, beginning at age 8 up to age 17 have already seen pornography, mostly while doing homework, or at least that is what they said they were doing.
Out of the seven capital sins, the most dangerous one is pride for two reasons. First, Pride disrupts your thinking. It makes you do things which are stupid, and it makes you do things which are evil more than any of the other sins. The second problem is that you don’t notice it or feel it. Pride doesn’t move the passions like the other capital sins, which makes it a quiet, spiritual poison.
Sermon based on the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Luke 18:9-14) – Pride is a very dangerous thing, a very destructive thing. But it’s not an obvious thing. It’s the most dangerous of the seven Capital sins.
Sermon based on the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Matthew 7:15-21) – Our Lord’s lesson is very plain: If the tree is a good tree, it makes fruit, but otherwise, it doesn’t produce anything good. And so it is with people. There are good kinds and there are bad kinds. Good people do good things, and bad people do not. Sometimes people can be confusing on the outside, but what they do shows you what they are.