jeudi, juillet 17, 2008

Sermon for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Saint Paul uses an image from the history of Israel in order to give us a lesson: the wages of sin is death! (Rom. 6:23). In the Old Testament, sin was sometimes punished by physical death as we can read in today’s epistle. Today, things have changed, and God seems to not want to intervene in the history of men. Men want to live without God and work to make a new society with new values. The rejection of God out of the society has been followed by the establishment of structures of sins which has built a culture of death which Pope John Paul II has condemned. But men are so blind that they consider this culture of death as a progress. The most visible and tragic example is abortion: the mass murder of millions of babies is considered by many as a progress and a victory of liberty.

It might be strange to understand it, especially for the contemporary mind, but it appears that the decadence of morals is a punishment from God as Saint Paul says in the Epistle to Romans.
Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause, God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another: men with men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. (Rom.1:24-27) In a time when same sex marriage is permitted – still in the name of progress and liberty – men should think about this. Vices have always existed since original sin, but when they are approved or even encouraged by the States, the governments or any kind of national or international organizations, they can only lead to the ruin of the society. After all, no civilization, no culture, no society has received the promises of eternity, except the Church. Even Christendom, which was the temporal emanation of the spiritual order into the society, had an end. The French Revolution that many will celebrate tomorrow has tolled the knell of the Catholic order. The goddess of reason would take the place of God soon. The true cult of the true God would be changed for idolatry in spite of the warning of
Saint Paul: “Do not become idolaters, even as some of them were, as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ ” By attacking the Church not in her theology and doctrine as he used to do many times throughout the centuries, but by striking her temporal foundation, Satan has certainly won his greatest battle. It would not take too much time – less than two centuries – to see the general apostasy of the Nations.
Is this general apostasy the sign of the coming of the antichrist? I do not know, but one thing is certain: this time will come soon. Saint Paul already said that the final age of the world has come. John Henry, Cardinal Newman, said that the greatest figure of the antichrist is certainly liberalism and that it will announce his coming by preparing his way.
So, it is true that the times are not easy for the disciples of Jesus. What should be our guideline in this time of trial? Exactly the same as for any time: seek first the kingdom of God and His justice! (Matt.6:33) We are followers of Christ and not of the world. It might be harder to seek the justice of God now than it used to be in the times of Christendom, but think about the first Christians who did not compromise with the world. Look at all these witnesses of Christ who did not give up their faith even when in danger of losing their life because of the persecutions.

The first justice is to render God what is due to Him, as we explained last week. This is the work of the virtue of religion. Where there is no religion, there is no justice. For that reason, it is necessary to be faithful to our duties of religion, which are mainly prayers and sacrifices offered to God. And there is a holy place for that, consecrated and dedicated for the glory of God.
My house is a house of prayer! Let us keep our churches, houses of prayer where the true sacrifice is offered to God. Let us remember how terrible is this place when we enter the house of God and let us approach to the holy of holies where Jesus dwells with respect and humility. Churches are not places for shows, but for adoration in truth and spirit. I am quite sure that there is a connection between the depravity of morals and the loss of religious sense among the faithful and even the clergy.
The house of prayer of which Jesus speaks is also our soul, the house of our interior prayer. We are temples of God and if we do not keep this temple clean and holy, then there is a great danger that God deliver us up to shameful affections. A lack of spiritual life is always and unerringly followed by sins – most of the time, against purity – and you have no one else to blame except yourself if it happens. Then Satan usually holds you as a slave, especially through human respect: you do not dare to go to confession and then it is just a vicious circle. Little by little, your whole spiritual life collapses and after a while you realize that all your devotions and practices are gone. You have made your soul a den of thieves instead of keeping it a house of prayer. Your religious life is just a façade and the religion that you display when you are at church is just a simulation that does not fool God.

Well, let us not permit that it happen to us and let us open our heart to the grace of God. May Our Blessed Mother help us to keep the house of God pure and holy, so that we may be able to offer a sacrifice pleasing to God. The Sacrament of Baptism allows us to do this, especially by uniting ourselves to the Sacrifice of Christ renewed every day on the altar. By fulfilling well our duties of religion, we will surely make the world better.

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