Sunday, September 30, 2012

Like the Corinthians we are lacking in no grace.

In today’s Epistle, along with many lessons given by St Paul, we are taught the lesson of Gratitude to God. St. Paul, having endured many trials, tribulations and sufferings for his spiritual children, the People of God, thanks God profoundly for the abundant graces that He has bestowed on them in Christ Jesus. And he not only calls the Corinthians to share in this gratitude but calls as well all of those who have been recipients of the grace of God which is for their eternal salvation in and through Christ Jesus our Lord. And so, St. Paul lets us know as well, that we too have been abundantly blest by God for we too have been given what we need to bring our lives to the destiny for which God has called us, an eternal destiny united to Him for ever.

St. Paul reminds us that we are called by God to the true Faith, and by our baptism He has united us with Christ and made us members, living cells, of Christ’s own Mystical Body—the Church. Also, God in His Divine and Gracious Mercy has made known to us the doctrines of His Catholic Church, and allowed us to enter into the depth of wisdom and consolation, which they contain. God has poured out upon us, in us, the wealth of His torrent of graces through the Sacraments, and through innumerable helps of inspiration, strength, and guidance He offers to us each and every day. Like the Corinthians we are lacking in no grace.

And so for all of this treasury of grace and endless mercy we should unceasingly give thanks. But additionally and importantly, along with our profound thanksgiving, we should always add the prayer that He Who has begun in us the great work of salvation might bring it completion in us. While we are too look forward with great confidence and full of hope that we will reach that completion, we must also be on our guard, always preparing and watching for the Day of The Lord, always ready.
So even though full of confidence and hope, St. Paul is exhorting us that we must work out our salvation with holy fear and trembling lest we become complacent and presumptuous, and so allow the one person who can prevent us from reaching our salvation to do so. And who is that one person? Ourselves!!!

Along with this profound gratitude for all that God has given us, never taking it for granted and continually cooperating with it so we reach our eternal salvation, along with this profound gratitude comes again this notion of caring for the eternal salvation of our brother. How can we truly be grateful to God if we are not willing to share what we have with those who are separated from God or struggling to open themselves to the graces He wishes to give them? How can we not be taking our own salvation for granted if we are not working for the salvation of others, especially those within the household of God? And so, how can we say we are cooperating with God’s graces of our own salvation when we are not using those graces to love not only God with our whole being, but to love our neighbor as ourselves for love of God as shown by our concern for the completion of the work of salvation in each member of our parish family.

Today’s Gospel from St. Matthew continues this notion. It is a shorter version of the event as found in the Gospel of St. Mark in which we are told the friends of the paralytic literally ripped away part of the roof in order to lower the paralytic lying on mat before the divine Jesus in human form.

Out of profound gratitude for all that we have been given we too are called be the friends of each paralytic that God puts in our path, for we too have been before paralyzed by our sins and yet helped by so many others to over and over pick up our mat and follow anew after Christ. It can not be said enough that our own salvation actually depends if we, by our prayers, worship and adoration, lift off the roof in order to lower, by our additional words and deeds, the paralytic, each paralytic, before the feet of Christ so that he or she may be healed by the Divine Power of the Incarnate Lord. Again, we do this literally by our Corporal, but especially, and primarily, by our Spiritual Works of Mercy…which are essentials of true Charity.

Many souls, and don’t forget it, many souls’ eternal salvation depends on whether you and I are willing to be solicitous for the salvation of our brother and sisters. There are today, millions, billions who are paralyzed by their sin and the sins of others, and has result are unable to place themselves before Jesus the only One who can heal them through the Sacrament of Confession and by their adoration of Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Like the paralytic they too are afraid of Jesus because of their sins. They need us, you, me, all of us, to help them not to be afraid. Just as we all have depended on others to help us and continue to depend on each other to help us so too do so many need our help. Not only those out there, but even and especially those sinners right here, in our families and especially in our family of St Patrick's. Remember Charity begins at Home, and, so too does our concern for souls, beginning right here at Home in our parish of St. Patrick’s.

We first begin with gratitude. We are sinners ourselves and we have be forgiven of so much, and so healed of so much paralysis in our own life. This gratitude is expressed, must be expressed, by being ever solicitous for cooperating in the salvation of the souls of our parish family members; and by working with fear and trembling in bringing this salvation to completion in each member of this portion of the Mystical Body of Christ. From here our care and concern, united with the members of this parish family, goes out to do the same in our community and in our whole world.
In order to cooperate with our great calling and so cooperate in the gratitude of faith with all that we have been given we must ourselves continuallu place ourselves, assisted by the prayers of one another, place ourselves at the feet of Jesus in Human form and responding to the healing power of His Divine Person. We too must continue to responded to His healing divine power ourselves, by our frequent and properly disposed reception of the Sacrament of Confession and by coming whenever we can in adoration before the Incarnate Lord, God in His resurrected and ascended Body, there begging Him for ourselves and for the whole world His Mercy and the Grace of a full and complete conversion.

Let us ask our Lady to obtain the grace to be open to all the graces that our gracious God wishes to give us today and every day, in order that strengthened in Faith, Hope and Charity, and so with out fear, we will be willing to cooperate in the great work of the salvation souls, by praying and even suffering for those who are prevented, paralyzed from sin, from placing themselves in the healing presence of Christ found in His Catholic Church especially in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Let us pray to Our Dear Heavenly Mother, that she would obtain for us the grace that we will be ready and willing to do or to accept whatever it takes to save souls and so save our own soul in the process, so that when Jesus comes again and questions us about our love, we will be able to answer with gratitude and joy what we did to help get souls to heaven, especially the souls of the members of our own beloved parish family.

Dear Blessed Mother help us to become a Parish of Adorers so that we may become a Family of Love. Amen.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Let us ask our Blessed Mother to help us to become servants of God by becoming a parish of adorers so that we can become a “Family of Love

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost. Sunday September 23, 2012 Extraordinary Form.

We continue in our first reading with St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Today, he continues to tell us to conform ourselves to the Holy Spirit especially in our care for one another. We are again to be concern with one another’s salvation; we are to, as Our Blessed Lord tells us, we are to in light of our total love of God, we are to love our neighbor as ourself.

St. Paul today is speaking to us literally in chains, a parishioner of love he has for his parishioners, for us, as he continues in his exhortation to all of us to practice Christian Charity; especially, within the household of God. Charity as you know is more than just being good, more than just being kind to one another; it is all of these things of course, but more much more, spiritually and eternally more.

St. Paul, better yet the Holy Spirit through St. Paul, is reminding us that belonging to the Catholic Church, belonging to this Parish family is more than just belonging to an organization; it is literally to be a member of one Body, the Mystical Body of Christ Himself. Each one of us is a living cell that is dependent on one another and a living cell that must work to keep the other alive if it is to stay a living cell.

The past few weeks we have been discussing that we do this by ourselves becoming more and more healthy, robust, holy members of the Body of Christ, by becoming more and more united to the Head of the Mystical Body, Jesus Christ Himself. Also by, as we have said, by not just walking with the Holy Spirit but conforming ourselves to the Spirit which is the Soul of the Mystical Body and the animating principal of Life for all of It’s members.

In the truth faith No one can be an island unto himself or herself; we live and breath together or we become a sick cell and eventually die and are sloughed (sluffed) off of the Body of Christ. It can never be said enough, we must be our brothers keeper we are responsible for the eternal welfare of each member of Body; especially with each member of this particular part of the Mystical Body of Christ, St. Patrick’s Parish family.

At the end of our life we will be question about this. We will be judged by how well, or not, we performed the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. We will be questioned primarily in light of the Spiritual Works of mercy, which are to be the end, the goal, and the reason for the Corporal Works of mercy-again the Spiritual Works of Mercy are primary.

One of the things I always make a point of doing as I prepare couples for marriage or when I baptize a baby, I always remind the engaged couple or the parents of the newly baptized baby of their primary duty to one another and to their children. I tell them that I guarantee, “infallibly”, that when they die and stand before Jesus Christ Himself, that He will ask them two questions of them, for sure. And when He does they can tell Jesus, “oh yeah! I remember Father Lange telling us that You would ask us these questions Jesus!”

Jesus will first of all ask them as a married couple, “What did you do to help your spouse get to heaven?”

And then Jesus will ask them, “What did you do to help get MY CHILD or My CHILDREN to heaven?” He won’t say, “What did you do to get your children to heaven, but MY CHILDREN to heaven?!!!”

However, in addition to these two questions, the Holy Spirit over this past few weeks of listening and studying St. Paul and his letter to the Ephesians, the Holy Spirit has revealed to me a question that each member of this parish family and that every member of every parish family is going to be asked as well. I guarantee, “infallibly,” that in light of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, Jesus is going to ask each one of us, when we stand before Him, He is going to ask us, “What did you do to help the members of your parish family to get to heaven?” (repeat).

We as members of this parish family, and so as members of the mystical body of Christ, have a great responsibility to all of the members of the Body of Christ; but especially, those within this household of faith, which is the members of the Body of Christ in our midst, this wonderful Parish Family. This is the calling, the vocation of each one of us.

We are called, chosen to be holy…and to be Holy means to Love the Lord God with all our whole heart, soul, mind and strength; and then because of this love of God to love our neighbor has ourselves. We can’t love our neighbor with our loving God first and foremost; however, if we say we love God but don’t love our neighbor then as St. John says we are liars. And we can’t love our neighbor if we don’t care for his corporal needs but especially and primarily for his or her eternal salvation, by carrying out the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy toward him for the good of not only his body, but his eternal soul. And so, the following may sound harsh, but it is the Gospel truth! We don’t love God really, if we aren’t solicitous for the eternal welfare of each member of this, THIS PARISH FAMILY.

Again, if all the members of this parish family realized this vital truth, then we wouldn’t have to worry about having enough money to not only make budget but far surpass it; we could do as they do in Kansas and provide a free Catholic education for any child who so desired it; we would never have to worry about enough volunteers, we would have to worry about having enough going on to keep everyone busy; and each member of the parish family would used their talents for the common good of this parish family and its members, they would speak, act and think always with the intention of what is the best for my parish family and for the salvation of the souls of Its members.

And this care and solicitude for the eternal welfare of souls would extend beyond the parish family; we would become more and more an evangelizing parish family. We would take our faith, our love of God and one another, out into our community and our world. And we would lead souls to faith in Christ and so to faith in the fullness of His Mystical body on earth, The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church under the Vicar of Christ, the Holy Father. .

Speaking of the Holy Father; a few days ago Pope Benedict spoke to New Bishops and called them to faithful service to God and to his people in order that the new evangelization called for by Vatican II and continued by Blessed John Paul II, Benedict, and of course the Holy Spirit Himself, would be realized. They are words that all of us, not just the bishops and priests need to put into effect in our lives. Benedict said:

“In fact, evangelization is not the work of some specialists, but of the whole People of God, under the guidance of Pastors. Every member of the faithful, in and with the ecclesial community, must feel responsible for the proclamation and witness of the Gospel.” Why does the Holy Father say this? In order that souls may be saved through a loving encounter with the God Who is Love.

He said that for this to happen, “Faith calls for credible witnesses, who trust in the Lord and entrust themselves to Him to be "living sign of the presence of the Risen One in the world" (Apostolic Letter Porta fidei, 15). Our Holy Father said that:
The bishop, who should be the first witness of the faith, accompanies the journey of believers offering the example of a life lived in confident abandonment to God. Hence, in order to be an authoritative teacher and herald of the faith, he must live in the Lord's presence, as a man of God.

We too must do the same. The bishop is to be like the Pope a servant of the servant of the people of God. So too must we, especially within the household of our parish family, we must be servants of one another for our corporal, but again most especially for our spiritual and eternal good.

We must every more fully to the Lord and to service of Him, and entrust ourselves totally to His Mercy and abandon ourselves totally with great trust to His Holy Will which is, “Love and Mercy Itself.” Pope Benedict said, “In fact, one cannot be at the service of men without first being at the service of God.”
Speaking again to the bishops but with words that can be direct to us, Benedict continued:

May your personal commitment to holiness be seen every day in assimilation of the Word of God in prayer and nourished by the Eucharist, to draw from this twofold table the vital lymph for the ministry. May charity drive you to be close to your priests, with that paternal love that is able to support, encourage and forgive; they are your first and precious collaborators in taking God to men and men to God. Likewise, the charity of the Good Shepherd will make you attentive to the poor and the suffering, to sustain and console them, as well as to orient those who have lost the meaning of life. Be particularly close to families, to parents, helping them to be the first educators of the faith of their children; to youngsters and youth, so that they are able to build their life on the solid rock of friendship with Christ. Have special care for seminarians, being concerned that they be formed humanly, spiritually, theologically and pastorally, so that the communities can have mature and joyful pastors and sure guides in the faith.

Let us ask our Blessed Mother to help us to become servants of God by becoming a parish
of adorers so that we can become a “Family of Love,” who members live out their service of adoration of God by giving themselves in service, a service of love, to the members of this Parish and flowing out to our community and world all for the Love of God and for the love and salvation of souls. Amen.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. September 16th, 2012 Extraordinary Form of the LIturgy

St Paul today is again calling us to great solicitude and care for our neighbor; especially those within the house hold of God, within the Christ… Paul is calling us to imitate his own solicitude..His many tribulations, even his imprisionment are for them, for their good and salvation; so much does he love them and care for them and so serve them.

St Paul is literally suffering so that they might enter into a deeper, (what a cheap word), into a communion, a unbreakable unending union of unfathomable love with the Father through the Son in the unity and charity of the Holy Spirit-to become one with God Himself.

For this cause St Paul says, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named: The Greek here is not kneel but prostrate myself to the Father from whom not just things come but come from out of love and are called to return to in lofe.

For the sake of his brethren, Paul is begging That the Father would grant them, you and I, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, that is that our very being would be renewed transformed into the very image of the Father in the Son. And so that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that, being rooted and founded in charity, You may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, To know also the charity of Christ,, the love of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge: that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. That is that you might become one with God, sharing in His Divinity, in His inner Divine Life.

Is St. Paul a dreamer; Is he an idealist?…No he is a realist, for this is not only possible for each one of us but it is the very reason for our being; “
Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us: To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

In light of this great calling, How much we should then work and even suffering for the good of our neighbor, serving him, putting his needs before our own…how much should we so in our families and particularly for those within the household of faith, that is within our parish family of St. Patrick’s

Last week we spoke about how to do this. First: by putting our brothers physical and temporal needs before our own summed up in the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy: Feeding the Hungry; given drink to the thirsty; clothing the naked; harboring the harbor-less, that is the homeless; visiting the imprisoned; and burying the dead;

Second by how much more we should care for and so serve our neighbor by the even more important Spiritual Works of Mercy: so even suffering if necessary for the good and salvation of our neighbor of our parish family

• To instruct the ignorant;that is to feed them with the knowledge of the truth that comes from God about God and about man…this truth proclaimed infallibly by the Church and her Magisterium..
• To counsel the doubtful; that is to give the love of Christ in our own hearts to those who are dying of thirst for His Love and the love of His brethren.
• To admonish sinners; out of solicitude for their eternal salvation with the knowledge that but by the grace of God go I…
• To bear wrongs patiently;
• To forgive offences willingly; and immediately for I have been forgiven of so much greater offenses…
• To comfort the afflicted;
• To pray for the living and the dead.

What would it look like if all the members of this particular gathering of the Body of Christ, if we, all of us, made it our primary concern for the common good, for the good of each one of the members and families of this parish family; made it our primary concern for the salvation of her members and families…we certainly would NOT have to worry about stewardship, about getting enough volunteers or even worry about getting enough money.

Our readings today give us key to not just imagining this authentic Christian living within us, within our familes and parish families and communites, but they give us the key to more and more bring it to fruition…the key is humility;
Humility is so necessary for salvation that not only in today’s Gospel reading, but throughout the Gospels, Jesus takes every opportunity to stress its importance. Today he uses the attitudes of people at a banquet to remind us again that it is God who assigns the places of man’s dignity. Humility is so much more than debasing oneself before the Lord…It is coming before the Lord in truth, truth about who we are and who God is.

Humility leads us to the realization of the greatness of man’s, each man’s dignity, and the overwhelming fact that by grace we are actually made children of God….Humility reveals to us the truth that it is not our own efforts that save us and give us life; it is the grace of God…Period…We must never forget this truth lest any of us boast…no let us boast always in the Lord…and to thank him and glorify Him and to show Him our faithful love serve Him by serving our neighbor caring for his material good, but even more importantly his eternal good-salvation.

Humility reminds us of the fact that God is a Father that He as not only created us in love but continue to sustains us in love…He calls us, each one of us, each person, our neighbor, every man into an intimacy of love that while surpassing all of our understanding never-less is the very meaning of our existence.
This opposite of humility is of course pride. In the Gospel Jesus uses the Pharisee to show us how damaging pride is, not only to the soul, but to the whole body of Christ---to the parish family and our families-to the world. The Pharisee, in his own mind, had by his efforts saved his own life…His lack of humility blinded him to the truth that again it is God grace that saves us and we are all equally in need of the mercy of God…so that some of us to be brought into friendship with God and others of us be prevented from falling out of this friendship.

The Pharisee could not see the need of the other…he could only see his own supposed goodness…And so, the Pharisee was NOT solicitous about the good and the salvation of his brother….He only cared that the other fulfilled the LAW like he himself did so perfectly, at least he thought. And so he would not reach out a hand for those brothers who had fallen in the pit of despair, unbelief and just lack of knowledge of the love of God the Father for them.

It’s so easy for us to fall into this trap of the Pharisees. You know many times this Gospel has been used to remind Catholics of not only the need for Catholics to attend every Sunday Mass but also its used to instruct the soul how to attend well, how to act within the household of God and the manner with which we should present ourselves before the Lord in His House…one thinks here of Paul, bowing, kneeling, prostrating before the Lord…

We think today of all those Catholics who don’t attend Holy Mass at all, or who attend without the proper disposition and attitude before so sublime and august a Sacred Mystery….It’s easy to take the attitude of the Pharisee toward them and condemn them for not following the Law…and so letting them stay in the pit and not reaching out our hand to pull them out.

The fact is that These poor wayward souls too lack humility, not necessarily because they refuse to see the truth, this certainly can be the case for some, but because many lack humility because they lack the truth about God and His unfathable love for them, they lack the truth about themselves and their great calling and dignity-they really don’t know themesleves in light of God’s great love. They are in the pit of ignorance and blindness.

We have to pray like St. Paul that through our efforts, and our own spiritual experience of God’s love, pray and suffer that they too would grow in the knowledge and love of Christ and experience that love that surpasses all knowledge and understanding.
So many have such a sentimentalized knowledge of the Love of God…We have to speak to them about the great accessibility of God that is open to them, but at the same time without ever forgetting the great and awesome Holiness of God and His great Glory. In other words, God welcomes the sinner, all sinners, but not if the sinner wishes to trade on God’s love in order to remain in his sin. God is holy and those who seek his friendship must cooperate with His grace in order to be come holy too—they must repent, confess and with the help of God’s grace and love sin no more.

We need to tell them, share with them that God is the Father of all and this fatherhood extends to all men, and so we must love and respect forgive and serve one another in light of this great truth.

We need to explain to them that God is the Father to whom all thanks must be given; better yet; all thankful adoration must be given…God’s fatherliness to us implies a debt on our part…it is wrong to think that God is only helping us in the difficult moments of our life…We receive so many gifts from God every day, everything is gift and so its easy to overlook this reality…We need to remind our neighbor and ourself that we owe everything to God, our salvation, all that we have, even our life and breath..

We need to show them that God is the pattern of all true fatherhood; G.K. Chesterton remembered his father only vaguely but his memories were precious. He tells us that in his childhood he possessed a toy theatre in which all the characters were cut-outs in cardboard. One of them was a man with a golden key. He never could remember what the man with the golden key stood for but in his own mind he always connected his father with him, a man with a golden key opening up all kinds of wonderful things.

We teach our children to call God father, and the only conception of fatherhood they can have is that which we give them. Human fatherhood should be mounded on the fatherhood of God. We need to teach all of those who don’t practice their faith or who don’t know their faith or of God’s love for them, we need to teach them to call God Father, they only conception of fatherhood they may have is that which we give them, You and I….

Let us now turn in thankful adoration to the Father from who all fatherhood gets its name and has it source and beg Him through His Son Jesus, to allow us to know and experience the charity of Christ which surpasses all knowledge and understand and so be filled with the fullness of the God so that we may share that fullness with all souls, especially with those within the household of faith.

Blessed Mother we pray for an increase of humility as we contemplate the first Joyful Mystery of your holy rosary, the Annunciation in which we see the humility of the divine by become man and the humility of the human by allowing the Word to become man. You then show us in the Second Mystery, the Visitation, that humility immediately opens up to the service and love of neighbor in order to bring the sanctify and saving presence of the Redeemer. May we imitate you profound humility by imitating your profound service as shown in our own love and service for our neighbor and own solicitude for their good and for their salvation. Amen.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Lady faithful disciple of Love, pray for us. Amen.

I continue to recover from my surgery. This homily was given back in 2006. May God bless you all. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Homily on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Twenty-second Sunday

Today we return to reading the Gospel of St. Mark and hear Jesus confronting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The issue at hand is one that is actually most fundamental to our Christian belief- the relationship between what we see on the outside and what occurs on the inside. Closely connected to this, is the relationship between what we profess to believe and how we actually live. The Catechism describes it in this way:
The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed’ (that is what the Church teaches) so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying God they may live well, by living well they may purify their hearts and with pure hearts may understand what they believe.”

The faithful must not only believe with their whole minds what the church teaches, but they must live out those beliefs in order to obtain purity of heart and will, in order to be saved…Consequently then, because it is a matter of our eternally salvation, it is important to understand exactly why Jesus is so strongly condemning the Pharisees and scribes.

The Pharisees were the group at the time of Jesus who were the most devote and pious. Their group began among the Jews in exile and its members wanted to honor God and obey the Law, no matter what. However, in their zeal to try to obey the Law they went overboard, so to speak, they began to follow the law only for the sake of the Law and not as a way to show their love of God by serving Him in humility and faithful obedience. These men began to invent pious practices with mixed motives- they asked questions like, “How far can I go in order not to disobey the law? They begin to do good works to be seen by others so that they could justify themselves, and say, “look at what a good person I am.” However, they failed to have true faith, because they failed to love God and develop an intimate relationship with Him, carried out and shown by their love for one another, especially those seemingly most unlovable among them.

Today we read how carefully the Pharisees washed their hands and dishes. It’s not that this practice was necessary a bad thing, even though it was a practice of human origin, but that this act was done with an impure heart and with the wrong motives. In this Gospel then, we discover that Jesus is not condemning the human tradition as such, but instead is condemning the spirit of the how the tradition was carried out. The discipline of the washing of the dishes and hands as well as other things was originally to symbolize the much deeper need for man to have purity of heart and purity of intention, in order to adore, worship and thus serve God correctly, and this of course is good. So the intention to follow the Law by pious practices was not what Jesus was attacking. And, He also was not telling the people not to follow these practices…remember, Jesus told the disciples to follow what the Pharisees said, because they did have legitimate authority from God to teach the Law and command the pious practices well. What Jesus was really attacking was something at a much deeper level, it was at the level of the Pharisees’ intention, and so Jesus quotes Isaiah, “This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” They don’t try to live what they profess to believe, and so they don’t really love me.

With this saying, Jesus moves our attention beyond the exterior practices alone and looks into the heart. What he desires is an interior conversion so that the exterior practices have a depth of meaning. This means that we always start with our interior attitude examining why we are doing the things we do, especially when it comes to practicing our Catholic Christian faith. Are we doing them with a truly humble heart, one that loves God over and above all things, especially over and above our own will, and with a heart that desires not only the good things of God but union with God Himself, a loving union which is shown forth through not only worship of God but through love of neighbor as well. Just as a man who says He loves his wife, and a man needs to tell his wife he loves her, he must also show that love by his actions. So too a Christian who says, “I believe in and love God,” must also try to prove, show, carry out this love of God by obeying God’s commandments and the precepts or laws of His Church, with God’s help of course. This is why St. James says, “Be doers or put into practice the word and be not hearers of it only, thus deluding yourselves.” And elsewhere, “Faith without works is dead.” Saying this, we must also say at the same time, a believer can’t just do good works in order to justify themselves, proving what a good person they are, while at the same time their heart is far from worship of God and far from His law of love..

Let’s look at an example from the practice of our faith, the Holy Mass, the source and summit of our faith, and examine the interior attitudes toward it. The Christian who truly loves God, can’t just show up for Mass on Sundays in order to fulfill the law of the Church and then spend the rest of the week, with their hearts and minds turned away from God, living a life unworthy of the name of Christian from Monday through Saturday by failing to love Christ in their brother. While its true that the Church teaches infallibly, which is another way of saying the Holy Spirit teaches through the Church, that deliberately, willingly and knowingly, missing Mass on Sundays is a failure to follow the third Commandment to keep Holy the Sabbath day, and this failure is considered a mortal sin which cuts one off from friendship with God, the Church at the same time tell us that it doesn’t do much good to come to Mass Sunday an impure intention, only to fulfill the law and without love.

So if a Catholic comes to Mass with the intention only to fulfill the law in order not to feel guilty and to avoid Mortal sin, but doesn’t come out of love for God, saying to himself, showing up at Mass is good enough, this same Catholic isn’t coming with a correct and pure intention of heart. So too however, the person who that thinks by doing good works and being a good person during the week, he can please God without fulfilling the Third Commandment of this same God which commands the believer to worship and adore Him on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. The heart that refuses to follow this Command doesn’t have an pure intention either, because this isn’t true faith; it’s the same as saying I can save myself with good works, or by being good enough, which of course isn’t true because we can’t do the works we need to do in order to be saved without the grace of Christ given to us at Holy Mass. This is an important point many misunderstand. Only Jesus can save us, we can’t save ourselves and Jesus saves us through the grace given to us by the Sacraments of the Church, especially the Eucharist, the Holy Mass. We just cannot be good enough to save ourselves apart from grace, for on our own we cannot do the works required for our salvation, that’s why we need to received the Holy Eucharist, every week.

This last point really ties it all together…By receiving the Holy Eucharist, we are enabled literally take Jesus out into our lives and allow Jesus to do good works in and through us, to love our neighbor not only with our own love, but with the love of Jesus in us. But we can only do this if we receive Jesus with the proper intention of faith, allowing Him to possess our hearts and become Lord of our lives. . St. James points this out by saying “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.” This word, is the Word of God made flesh, it is the Holy Eucharist which is given to us at Holy Communion that is able to save our souls and save other souls through us, but only if we are pure of heart, living our lives with the help of His grace, by showing our love for God in faithful obedience to His Commandments and the Commandments and teachings of His Church…for we just can not love our brother if we are not following the commandments and the teachings of the Church and it is the Eucharist as well that gives us the help we need to be obedient to these.

Ultimately then, this week’s Gospel message really ties into the last seven weeks and the Bread of Life discourse. Ultimately, our faith is anchored in the Eucharist. A person just can’t be a Catholic without believing in the Eucharist, without believing in transubstantiation, that at the Mass Jesus through the priest changes ordinary bread and wine miraculously into Himself---the God made Man. And that only by receiving this same Jesus with faith and with the proper intention can we be enabled live out our Catholic faith, not only in word but in deed, to be practicers of the Word, and not hearers only. Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

Let us pray today that we might have a deeper interior conversion of heart that would manifest itself in our actions. We are here at Mass because we truly desire with our wills, to follow the Lord with pure hearts and minds in order to live a life of true holiness, a life free from hypocrisy, because it is lived in faithful obedience to the law in order to show our love for God by our love for neighbor. We are here, not just to fulfill the law, but to adore God by offering ourselves to Him in order to receive Him in an intimacy of Love at Holy Communion, so that we can then go out and share this love with our brother and sister, thus manifesting our love for God. May the seeds of faith we have received as a gift begin to grow and blossom more fully in our hearts. May the Virgin Mary aide us by her example and with her prayers and her powerful intercession before the throne of God. Our Lady faithful disciple of Love, pray for us. Amen.