The Lord is the strength of his people, and the protector of the salvation of his anointed!
Sermon for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Today’s Introit, taken from the Psalm 27, comes to invigorate our faith and our hope. “The Lord is the strength of his people, and the protector of the salvation of his anointed.” It is good for us, and comforting, to open the Holy Scriptures and to read these verses which sustain our Christian life. God is my strength and the protector of my salvation!
Dear Brethren, when you are beset by doubts, when you are tempted with discouragement, when you are tired because you have so many tasks to complete, when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, when you just want to give in and admit defeat, just remember that Our Lord Jesus Christ is your strength. This thought made Saint Paul exclaims: “ If God be for us, who is against us? ”
I particularly like this verse from the Epistle to the Romans which I chose for my card of ordination: “If God be for us, who is against us?” God is our strength and our protection and no one nor anything can stop us or knock us down if we are with God under his protection. Who is against us? Of course, by choosing God, we build up an army of enemies against us, but what can they do against us? Even if they take our life, it would only be for our benefit.
So, dear Brethren, we have no excuse for giving up our duties toward God, especially the sanctification of our soul which is truly a duty. Temptations? They are no excuse. Difficulties? They are no excuse. Our weakness? It is not an excuse either. Certainly, we can fall, and God knows how very weak the flesh is, but we cannot give up our duties and push God out of our life just because we think that we cannot do what He wants us to do. What a trespass against Him! What a lack of faith! What a shame! Nothing can justify such abandonment.
Dear Brethren, by choosing God, we don’t take the easiest road. It is again Saint Paul who tells us that we are baptized in the death of Jesus Christ. We are buried with Him. It is not just a kind of image, a beautiful thought expressed in a poetic way. We are truly dead and buried with Jesus Christ and with this truth come certain very real responsibilities which we can sum up and condense into one word: the Cross!
The Cross of Jesus Christ! We like to have it on the walls of our rooms, that’s nice, but we usually don’t like to have it on our shoulders. Yet, on our shoulders is the most appropriate place for the cross. We like to understand the idea of the Cross and to think about it, but we don’t like to carry it. Yet, before we can have a beautiful concept to understand and contemplate, it is first an object we should embrace and carry. The Cross is our way to salvation and the source of our life. There is no salvation and no life without the Cross.
Now, comes the usual objection: “But I cannot carry this cross. It is too heavy! O God, please, I would like to carry my Cross with Jesus, but please, give me another one!”
O men of little faith! Don’t you know that God knows better than you what is good for you? Don’t you know that He is perfectly wise and that He gives each of us what we need? If God gives you one cross instead of another, it is because this cross is the perfect cross for you. And, rest assured, that He will give you the strength to carry it.
“The Lord is the strength of his people, and the protector of the salvation of his anointed.” Where will you find the Lord? Where will you find the strength and the protection He promises us? Right here, at the altar, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Listen to Jesus: “If I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off.” Our home is heaven and it is far from here. God knows this and gives us the food which makes us strong enough to be able to reach our eternal home. Pope Saint Pius X, after having condemned the Jansenist belief to the contrary, teaches that Our Lord desires for us to receive Him every day in the Sacrament of the altar. This pious practice strengthens our union with Our Lord and is the best way to keep our soul in the state of grace.
Dear brethren, the Lord is your strength and I hope you will not be fools by rejecting Him. The fact is, that without Him, you will fall time and time again in mortal sin. Yet, God gives you the means to keep your soul in the state of grace. Don’t offend Him by rejecting His graces.
May Our Lady lead us to the altar and help us to prepare ourselves for Holy Communion. It is already the early beginnings of Heaven.