If you look up there, you're going to see three flags and those three flags, of course are the American flag, the Brazilian flag and the Vatican flag and the flags are there for a reason.
Obviously, we are here in the United States and what we do here is obviously in the United States, recognizing everything we stand for as Americans. For those who are not Americans, everything is in context of here in the United States.
We have the Brazilian flag here, which is a reminder that we have a Brazilian Community.
You'll see an interesting thing with the American flag. We speak American English here. We do not speak British English, and we don't speak Canadian English.
The Brazilian flag. This is a Brazilian community and we speak Brazilian Portuguese, here and then of course, the Vatican flag because this is a Roman Catholic Church in unity with Rome. Those are the only flags that are there.
They're there because those are the three flags that stand for who we are and what we are all about. There are no other flags there because there's no reason for other flags, they basically say it all.
One of the reasons why I say that is any other flag that might be there. Might say, well, these people have a special invitation, but no one has a special invitation because all of us have a special invitation and the same special invitation. All of us have been called by God, the infinite God, so you can't get more than that. So all of us and all people have that special invitation. And what is that special invitation? To come here and encounter Christ within the Catholic context. So have that encounter with Christ, that's what we do. If you're not interested in that, then this is not the place for you.
I don't mean that in a negative sense. I mean that in this sense, you know, where I stand on guns. So, if I walk into a gun shop and the man looks at me and says, “Can I interest you in a gun?” And my response is no. Then the next question would be, “Then why are you here?”
So, that's what this is. So for all of us and regardless of who you are, you have an invitation to encounter Christ and people can come no matter who they are. If you have a person who was an ax murderer in a previous, part of his life and decides, “I don't want to be an ax murderer anymore. I want to encounter Christ,” even they’re welcome here and to come to encounter Christ. However, if they do invite you to Home Depot to go buy some tree, removing tools, you may not want to go.
But that's what we do. That's what we're all about. So that's why those are the only two three flags. The only three flags that are up there, that's who we are. That's what we represent and any other flag would say to any other group that they have a special invitation. But we all have the same special invitation so there is no such thing.
The reason why I bring that up is this is June in June, certain flags draw a lot of attention.
One of the problems is some people in our church including bishops and priests and what are known as Catholic apologists misinterpret that flag and say some very nasty things such as “The flag always represents sin. No Catholic should have anything to do with it. It is an awful thing. We should be instead celebrating this month is the month of humility.”
Every month in the Catholic Church is a celebration of humility. That's what we're all about because that's the prime virtue and the reason why that's important is because we're Catholics we are called to invite people to encounter Christ.
When we put up that wall, then they can't do that. Tthey become like, what we see in the gospel, “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” And when we put up that wall, that's what happens. We have that invitation. And that's an important distinction.
The reason why I said that is because the real reason for that flag is “in this establishment: we will serve you. We will not kick you out. We will not refuse to rent to you. We will not beat you up. We will not cast you out on the street. We will not prevent you from living your life as an American. We will do none of that”
That's what we stand for to, to all people. So that's why it's important to understand that radical difference between the two because we're called to be Servants of Christ to all.
Now, I was obviously last week, not this past week, but last week, I was in the supermarket and it was Saturday and I was buying some shopping, I was shopping at the store and I met someone who works at a restaurant that I go to fairly often and he said to me, why don't you, why don't you come to the restaurant anymore? The reason is because I got a lot of other things going on, and that's, that's one of the reasons, but I could tell the question was more or less reminding me, you know, if you don't associate with other people, they don't hear the voice of Christ. especially, because the way I was dressed.
When I was on Retreat this week. They told a fascinating story and it's something to keep in mind. It was about a man who died a martyr for the faith. He had a family, the whole family died martyrs for the faith. What happened is the government came in. I think this was China and they went to people and they said either renounce, your faith or you will die. He, and his whole family said, we will not renounce our faith. This is in the 1800s and he so faithful not only, did he say, I'm not going to renounce my faith, but I want to be the last one who will die so that I can be there with each and every one of my family members as they die so that they know I'm with them and they know that God's with them.
They granted them that favor. You can look at that story and say, wow, I wish I could be like that person and people who knew him would laugh at you. “No, you wouldn't want to be like that person.” So why not?
He was a doctor and he was suffering from pain and he gave himself opium. This is back in the 1800's before anyone knew of the addictive properties of opium and he got addicted and he couldn't stop. He even went to confession and the priest, didn't know about the addictive properties of opium. The priest said you keep going back and committing this sin, therefore, you can't receive communion until you stop doing this sin. Today, we might sit the priest down, teach him about addiction and then slap him upside the head. But anyway, but that's what happened. And so he never went back to receive communion because he couldn't give up opium. And so he was an opium addict and he died for the faith. However, he attended Mass faithfully nevertheless.
We have no idea who's walking through there. But minute we turn around and say, either only those people can come, or these people have respectful invitation, or these people can't come all of whom want to encounter Christ, we are not doing what were called to do. Be careful of some of these things that are being said, because first of all, they're wrong I know that within the context of the Dodgers game, obviously, I didn't agree with the way the Dodgers, handled that whole issue.
But the other part of this is the understanding that we represent that same in invitation that Christ gave to anyone who walks into this church. We invite you to encounter Christ regardless of who you are. If you want to encounter Christ, this is the place to come if you don't, okay? Then there are other places you can go but that's what we stand for to. Anyone who is interested.
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