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.
4th Sunday of Lent – John 6:1-15
When you start to pay attention to the Gospels, you start to see the details of how things worked among Jesus and His disciples. For example, Jesus and his followers were supported, as the church is supported by donations today, with money. There was one apostle who kept track of the money, Judas Iscariot. And out of that money, they would buy things for the poor, they would be the things they themselves needed. There was also the inner circle, those who were given special graces. Peter, James and John were the only ones invited to the Transfiguration on the mountain. Peter, James and John were the only ones taken further apart at the Mountain of Olives on the night He was betrayed, specifically again to watch and to pray. We also know that outside of the 12, there was the larger group. Actually, they were a part of it, the 72. So there was the 72, the 12, and then the 3.
We see today our Lord, after having worked a really stunning miracle, feeding 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, He’s in a certain difficult situation. They see such astonishing power that He is the prophet that is foretold in the Scriptures and they want to make him the King. And so our Lord leaves. It says, in fact, he fled – he doesn’t just walk away. He fled himself unto the mountain alone.
Sermon preached on Ash Wednesday 2017
Commentary on the the second part of the Epistle for the day (1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5): “For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food, And all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.) But with most of them God was not well pleased.”
If you want to know how you are doing spiritually, you can ask yourself these simple questions:
- Do I find Mass boring or interesting?
- Do I find it easy to pray or hard to pray?
- Do I speak to Jesus easily after Communion or is it difficult to speak to him?
- Am I better at praying than I was when I was younger, or am I worse?
That will tell you what you are, and what direction you’re going.
[Please note: there’s a small glitch in the audio at 0:38]
We find the word “watch” used by our Lord many times:
- And he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here, and watch. (Mk 14:34)
- And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping. And he saith to Peter: Simon, sleepest thou? couldst thou not watch one hour? Watch ye, and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mk 14:37:38)
- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away. But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is.” (Mk 13: 31-33)
But what exactly does Jesus mean by this word “watch”?
In the Gospel of the wedding Mass (Matthew 19:3-6), we read the words that Jesus said about marriage. It happened on an occasion, when the Pharisees, his perpetual combatants, wanted to put him to the test. And so they asked him about something that is always a point of disagreement in every culture that starts to drift away from God. That is, they asked him about divorce. And so Jesus takes the opportunity to explain what marriage really is, going back to the book of Genesis to the story of Adam and Eve, our first parents (Gen 2:24). There we find God saying, “For this reason, a man will leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be in one flesh.” Jesus quotes those words, and then explains what they mean, “Therefore they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
Commentary on the Gospel for the Resumed 5th Sunday after Epiphany (Matthew 13:24-30) – The man who sows the good seed is the son of man, that is, Jesus Christ, and the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom, and the bad seed are the children, as our Lord says, of the wicked one. And the enemy that sows the evil seed is the devil, and the reapers who gather up the cockle to burn them, and the wheat for the harvest, those reapers are actually the angels.