Reflecting on Today’s second reading, I realized there is an important message for us that may be unique to our time. First, St. Paul is calling us to walk down a new path, we are to change our way of living to reflect our embracing of Christ in our lives.
However, let’s look carefully at what is being said.
These few sentences say volumes.
At your baptism, you were sealed in the Holy Spirit. This means that you were called to be a people set apart. Remember, the Jews are the chosen people, they are a people set apart and it is through them that Christ came to bring Salvation.
Now through your baptism, you are set apart so that Christ will use the baptized to bring the final stage of his salvation to the world through the action of the Holy Spirit.
Now notice what St. Paul says: “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.”
Where do: bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, reviling and malice come from? When we do not get our way. We want the world a certain way, we want people to be a certain way and when that does not happen we become bitter, angry, etc.
If you want to be at peace with the world accept it as it is and then co-operate with God’s grace. This is why the relationship with Christ is so important. It is this way that we co-operate with God’s grace and we come to know Christ and learn to be more like Him. This will lead you to be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ and when you do that then you can bring the grace of God into the world and build his kingdom.
Now I realize something else. I always teach that the greatest source of evil is people demanding their world, their way. “I want my world, my way.” I have come to realize and I was discussing this with some priests the other day and they agree, that is the attitude of the hardened heart. That is the obstinate heart that separates people from God. “I want my world, my way.” That is the attitude that leads people to Hell because they cannot accept the world anyway but their own. Put them in a world of people with the same attitude and you can see why they call it Hell. Remember the words of Jean-Paul Satre: “L’Enfer c’est les autres” “Hell is other people” which in that description is true. It is other people who each want the world their way.
Now I want to show you something else. Many people will look at the miracles in the Bible and seek them in order that they may see proof that God exists. So, they will hold meetings and decide to bring a charismatic healer into a Mass and that will be so wonderful, people will begin to believe in God. It really is not a long-term solution and often does not work well.
In our world today, people want to see some kind of proof that God exists and they do not see it so they assume he does not.
I realize the proof is there, however, it is proof for our time, not the past.
What is one example?
Do you see what is going on in our church? We have scandals, we have difficulties, we have people doing all they can to take down our church some from the inside and some from the outside. Notice those who focus on taking down the Catholics. You do not see the local media going after the other religions to the same level they go after the Catholics, we all know that. A famous comedienne unapologetically uses such a horrible name for Catholic priests that I cannot say it in mixed company at all. She is applauded by the Hollywood crowd.
It would seem that many priests would leave the priesthood in light of what we have been through.
Why do you come to Mass especially when you see the Church is such a mess? The reason is because the focus is not the Pope, it is not the bishops in Washington, it is not even the Archbishop, it is Christ himself. People come to the Catholic Church to find Christ in the Church he founded.
The Church is not perfect, because if it was you would be worshipping the Church. The Church is human and in the Church in the midst of the humanness still has Christ at her center.
I was explaining the other day the message from St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle where she describes a castle that has union with Christ at the center. However, from the outside to deep inside you move further away from the earthiness and closer to the divine. This is how the Church works. The more we are united with Christ the more we can be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. The more we do that the more we ourselves become the signs of God’s existence.
The Catechism teaches we can do none of that without a prayer relationship with Christ. The Church is the miracle and the more people throw mud at it, the more Christ uses our faithful persistence to spread his light. This is how God works, he takes those efforts to cast him out of our world and uses them to lead others to salvation.
Those who want their world, their way will become more and more bitter, angry, they will shout, and revile with malice because they cannot accept a world that does not match their demands.
Meanwhile, embrace Christ, pray and be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ and when you do that then you can bring the grace of God into the world and allow Him to build His kingdom through you.
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