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A great homily May 12, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Fr. Larry Adamcyzk has a couple of blogs, one of which contains text of his Sunday homilies.  I posted the other day that one of the reasons people say they leave the Church is a lack of inspiration from priests, especially from homilies.  I opined that homilies by priests are far too often too vague, too generalist, and too happy clappy.  They don’t keep people’s attention, and they don’t often deal with those subjects that are absolutely core to our faith, but which may make some people feel uncomfortable. 

None of that from Fr. Larry.  He focuses on those things that really, really matter – death, judgement, heaven, and hell.  When is the last time you heard a priest warn that dying in a state of mortal sin will lead one to hell?  Fr. Larry also rightly highlights the Mass as a Sacrifice, and the coming down of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, to earth in a ceremony oriented towards God.   It’s not a family meal holding hands and singing folk hymns around a picnic table – it’s Heaven come down to Earth, as St. John the Apostle describes in Revelation. 

An excerpt:

To quote that great saint and doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux, “I do wish you were dead.”  This is what little Therese said to her mother, in the midst of giving her a big hug.  In a letter written by her mother, Therese’s mother explains, “Baby is such a little imp.  In the midst of caressing me, she wishes I were dead!  ‘Poor darling Mamma, I do wish you were dead!’  She is quite astonished when I scold her, and excuses herself by saying, ‘It’s only because then you will go to heaven; you told me that you have to die to go there.  In the same way, she wishes her Father were dead, when her love gets the better of her.”  Oh, to have the faith of that little child and echo the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel, “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father.” St. Augustine asks why if we love Christ do we fear death?  His answer is that if we fear death, we do not love Christ perfectly.  The purpose and destiny of our lives is to live forever in the very life of the Trinity, a gift that even the angels do not share, for Jesus did not become an angel but assumed a human nature, and took that human nature to sit at the right hand of the Father.  Don’t you think it odd that we hardly ever hear homily about the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell.  Yet, those are the most important and lasting things.  Many in the Church do a great job telling us how we should love one another, many in the Church do a great job about how we need to take care of the poor, many in the Church do a great job of making us feel comfortable and at ease in the Church.  But this is not the purpose of the Church.  It has been the tendency in recent years to talk as if anybody who has died has automatically gone to heaven.  Yet, universal salvation is not taught in the Bible nor in the Church.   The purpose of the Church is to help get us, body and soul, into heaven.  However, those who die in a state of mortal sin suffer the everlasting punishments of hell.  It is the purpose of the Church to prepare us for those for last things:  death, judgment, heaven, hell. 

Too many in the Church today do not believe that anyone goes to Hell.  No, we can’t judge the final destination of any of us, but we do know, because Christ has revealed this through His Church, that those who die in a state of mortal sin have no other desitnation but hell.  When we commit a mortal sin, we’ve completely cut ourselves off from God’s Grace.  We’ve divorced ourselves from God.  That is why God hates sin so much – it’s what separates us from Him and can be final, irrevocable.  But because our God is such a loving God, he has given us the Sacrament of Confession, so that we can confess our sins and return to God’s sanctifying grace.  But many in the Church today think this is not so.  Many people think “I’m basically a good person, I’ll get into Heaven,” even though this “basically good person” may not have been to Mass in years and may have been to a strip club three weeks before.   Some people say they don’t have any sins to confess.  Hah!  Are you the Blessed Mother?  We all sin, perhaps many times daily, every one of us.  Statistics reveal that most males can’t even go more than a few days without committing a mortal sin, and given that 97% of Catholic women use contraception or have been sterilized – well, the need for regular confession seems apparent.

The problem is that people are no longer cognizant of their sin.  We live in a culture that says ‘if it feels good, do it,’ and encourages selfishness and puts personal pleasure as the highest end.  People are not going to have the nature of sin reinforced by the culture – in fact, the culture positively encourages much sin.  The only place this can come from is the Church.  But since this topic is controversial, may make people mad, and, God forbid, could cause some complaints or might even cause donations to dip for a week or two, sin is a topic almost never heard in our churches anymore.  Where does that leave the people?   Since fewer than 5% of Catholics make it to Confession ever anymore, that leaves alot of people in a very precarious position – basically trusting that God will be so magnaminous as to forgive even unconfessed mortal sins after death, in spite of centuries of Church doctrine to the contrary. 

Christ gives priests an awesome responsibility.  They are responsible for the formation and salvation of all the laity under their care.  Yes, some, perhaps many may reject the priest’s best efforts.  But in cases where there has been neglect on certain subjects, that priest may be held culpable.  As Christ said: “Whoever causes one of these little ones 5 who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” I don’t intend this to be taken as menacing, but as an exhortation, a reminder of their great priestly duty.  It is said in charity in the hopes that as many may be saved as possible.

Comments

1. This is what we need to hear « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - May 13, 2010

[…] goes along rather nicely with my recent post on Catholic homilies (I would prefer they were […]

2. Fr. Larry - May 17, 2010

I actually did get some complaint on this homily.

For more on ‘Do good people go to Hell?” see my post at

http://wherethereispeter.blogspot.com/2010/04/do-good-people-go-to-hell.html

tantamergo - May 18, 2010

Well, I like it, and I will read the follow up. Thanks, Fr. Adamcyzk!


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