Saturday, February 8, 2014

only one Church need exist

Homily
5th Sunday of Ordinary Time C
Christ the King Topeka
9 February 2014
Daily Readings


Catholicism is dead in the water.  Christ the King, our parish, is dead in the water.  Don't get me wrong.   We're a nice Church . . it's just that nice doesn't cut it.  It never has.  It never will.   It's not that I'm discouraged or pessimistic.  I have nothing but hope and enthusiasm for where our parish is headed.  I love our Catholic tradition and the opportunity to bring Christ who I know to be the way, the truth and the life more tangibly and fruitfully into our world.  I know there are thousands of points of light in our parish and in our Church.  Pope Francis has been an amazing boost, for one.  Pope Francis shows us how to get bloody and dirty in the pursuit of holiness, so that the Church is known first and above all for her charity! I know I'm speaking in generalities, not in particulars.  But in general, the Church, and our parish, is treading water.  We're not declining, but we're not setting the world on fire either.

Jesus reminds his disciples in the sermon on the mount, however, that treading water is unacceptable.  Christians are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  Salt was used in Jesus' time to preserve what is good and to kill what was bad.  Salt has a great potency.  Light highlights what is good and exposes what is evil.  Light can be the most powerful of forces.  That is what Christians are supposed to be  - not weak, but potent.  Christians are to be salt and light.  They are to be nothing less.  Not relatively good compared to other people.  Not a nice part of the world.  No, Christians exist for one reason, and for one reason only - to serve and to save the world by being its salt and its light. If Christians are not showing the full flavor and beauty of what it means to be human, and are not co-redeeming the world by participating in divine life and love, then we should fold up our tents.

Our Church is supposed to be so much more than a nice gathering of nice people saying nice things and doing nice things for each other and for their community.  Nice is nice.  But being nice doesn't meet the standard of being salt and light.  Nice doesn't convert anyone.  You don't have to be a Christian to be a nice person . . there are plenty of good people who don't care to go to Church.  No, there is only one reason, and there can be only one reason to be a Christian . . and that is to become a saint.  The only reason to be a religious person is to make possible something new . .being a Christian must be entering into a great adventure of trying to become more, and do more, than was thought possible before.  If being Christian isn't about reaching new heights and exploding old categories of what it means to be a human person, than it's nothing more than anesthesia for the scared.

The Church then exists only to produce saints. It cannot be a holding pen for those who are superstitious or too afraid to live.  If that is what agnostics see in the Church, then why would they ever become Catholic? Agnostics don't care about the truth or the global or personal impact of religion, and if they have never met a saint, why should they?  Personally, I would rather see agnosticism grow than lukewarm Catholicism, because agnosticism holds out the challenge that unless you can show me that Jesus Christ has enlightened your mind and heart in incredible ways, and made the impossible possible, then I don't care.  Agnosticism challenges the Church to produce saints or to fold up her tents.  The growth of agnosticism could eventually be the foil for the renewal of the Church.

Just like athletes try to set new world records, and scientists never stop asking questions about the universe, and just as telling an engineer than he can't do something makes no impact on his desire to do it anyway, so also saints strive to do something in God, with God and for God, that has never been done before.  St. Paul says that saints take their cue from the cross of Jesus Christ.  Whenever the challenge comes that you don't have to be religious to be a good person, whenever you think that human reason can provide a better rationale for morality than religion, Christians look to the cross.

On the cross we see that even though God didn't need to create or love the world, and the world did not add one iota to his glory, that God created and loved anyway, loving to the point of forsaking Himself.  The cross shows that even though the redemption of one sinner added nothing to God's glory, still He redeemed us anyway.  The cross always speaks then to true freedom born from a transcendent and spiritual source, and to a goodness and love not imposed on us from below because of our nature, but a goodness and love from above toward which we strive and which makes new things possible.  Saints are holy not because they conform to the goodness that lies below us, but because they go far beyond a love that is reasonable, and lose themselves totally by striving in spiritual freedom for the goodness that lies beyond us. Saints conform their lives to the mystery of the cross, where the source of truth and goodness and love is perfectly revealed.

There is only one Church that deserves to exist.  That Church is an evangelizing Church - one that shows the world the new things that are possible through the transcendent and spiritual freedom and power and goodness and love of God working in us, and with us and through us.  We shouldn't expect to stay open, if we fail to become this Church here at Christ the King.  The only Church that should continue on is one that produces saints - those who aren't afraid to take Jesus at his word, to become the salt of the earth, and the light of the world.  Amen.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent!

Anonymous said...

I want to be a SAINT!!!

Anonymous said...

Considerations:
Why would the cardinals be laughing during an act of papal veneration? http://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/news-photo/pope-francis-kisses-a-cross-during-a-meeting-with-cardinals-news-photo/174547606
And why the veneration of this particular, bizarre looking cross? http://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/news-photo/pope-francis-holds-a-cross-during-a-meeting-with-cardinals-news-photo/174550364
Would such a cross, which has no semblance to the traditional crucifix, warrant a sermon before a gathering of Church leadership? http://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/news-photo/pope-francis-holds-a-cross-during-a-meeting-with-cardinals-news-photo/174547601
The possible answers?
http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/a-new-form-of-the-cross-will-be-introduced/
http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/the-next-pope-may-be-elected-by-members-within-the-catholic-church-but-he-will-be-the-false-prophet/
http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/masonry-has-infiltrated-my-church-on-earth-and-soon-the-schism-as-foretold-will-create-division-and-disquiet-amongst-my-faithful-servants/
*after evaluation of the above links take into account this prophecy: http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/my-poor-holy-vicar-pope-benedict-xvi-will-be-ousted-from-the-holy-see-in-rome/
The prediction therein was given exactly one year prior to Pope Benedict’s 2/11/13 resignation press conference.

Consider this comparison: (observe carefully the words used in both the Caritas International video and the prophecy link below)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvC-k1ai71Q (4:46 minute video; taken from www.romereports.com; Caritas International production)
http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/you-will-soon-be-told-to-use-your-faith-to-create-a-political-campaign-around-the-world-to-save-the-poor/

An unusual event to compare:
Here is a sample review of the 2014 Grammy Awards (event featured religious ritual): http://www.spiritdaily.com/grammys.htm

An alleged prophecy concerning the continuing rise of satanism among celebrities and the subsequent fallout: http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/you-must-pray-for-their-souls-as-they-have-sold-them/

*hyperlinks have been removed in order to bypass sensitive email filters – copy and paste desired link address into your internet browser search box.

Michael Groff said...

It strikes me that too many of us identify our belief with a building and what transpires within its walls and not with the way we live our lives. While these are not mutually exclusive, the way we live, act and relate to others is the action to the faith expressed in church. I think it is a part of the evangelization of which Father speaks.