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Sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost – September 30, 2018 by Father Alvarez

Fr. Paul Alvarez – September 30, 2018
19th Sunday after Pentecost 7:30 Mass

Father began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.

In today’s gospel we have the parable of the royal banquet. In it, Christ addresses those who rejected God. The parable has two parts: one is the rejection of the Jews; the other is the singular rejection of each individual. The reasons are different. The rejection of the Jews is motivated because they did not hear the prophets but they killed them. The individual rejection is characterized by a man who does not wear the wedding garment but has entered the room of the banquet; that is, he has entered the Church but he is not in the state of grace. That is to say, that of those who are lost, some reject the Faith or they do not believe, while others believe but do not live according to the Faith. But the parable speaks not only of them, but also indirectly of those who accept the mission of being witnesses of Christ before the world from which all of us are called to detach ourselves.

When a child is born it is normal to observe in him certain reflexes that we call innate reflexes. For example, the sucking reflex, the swallowing reflex or the grasping reflex. What is not innate is the act of releasing things, letting things go. The human being has to learn to let things go, to be detached from them. Usually a child achieves this at the fifth month or so but there are some humans who will not achieve this in a lifetime.

St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, Doctor of the Church, constantly insisted that the Christian should strive to achieve the distacco, an Italian word that we can translate as “detachment”. But a detachment not only of material things but essentially of all those thoughts, words and deeds that separate us from God. Ideas are perhaps the most important foundation that precedes our actions and as such they are the ones that we must strive to reform, adapting them to the will of God, because as we think, we end up so living.

Last Sunday I was giving a class to a group of young people in Italy and one of them asked me what I thought of this priest who emphatically denounced the calamitous pontificate of Pope Francis but wished for the return of Benedict. It did not take me too long to show them that both are acting in complicity. Like this Italian priest, many are shocked by the consequences of Pope Francis but they refuse to analyze the cause. This attitude can almost be considered pathological, something similar to schizophrenia. If we are scandalized only by immoral actions but we do not look at the ideas that sustain them, we will fall into the same mistake of many conservative groups who try to cover the sand with a finger, demanding the resignation of Pope Francis without understanding that seven worse demons can come to occupy his place. In Peter Seewald’s Book about Benedict XVI, he puts together the words of Benedict XVI quite clearly. “I wrote the text of my resignation in Latin because something so important you do in Latin”. In those words he said, “No one tried to blackmail me. If someone had tried to blackmail me, I would not have left, because you cannot leave when you are under pressure.” Even more, in a letter addressed to the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Benedict XVI affirms that there is an entire continuity between his pontificate and the one of Francis. His words were, “Pope Francis is a man of deep philosophical and theological formation”.

Lastly, on September 21, letters written by Benedict to Cardinal Brandmuller were leaked, in which Benedict says, “However, for some people and — it seems to me — also for you, the pain has turned into an anger that no longer merely concerns my resignation, but increasingly also my person and my papacy as a whole”. “By this, the papacy itself is now being devalued and melted into the sorrow about the situation in which the church currently finds itself.”

As we can see, Benedict and Francis are on the same page. Benedict is a clever man grown evil with age as the Prophet Daniel would say. While Francis is a crude and bolder man but both are in the end the same thing.

Now what does this have to do with the gospel of today? Well, this is a clear example of why we must learn to get rid of those ideas that separate us from God. The text we hear today says, “And the king sent his servants to call in those invited to the marriage feast but they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, and another to his business, and the rest laid hands on his servants, treating them shamefully and killed them”. Each of those invited preferred to follow their own desires rather than to do the will of the king to the point of committing murder, killing the prophets of God and even deicide, killing the Son of God. This, my dear brothers and sisters, is the consequence of harboring bad ideas and bad feelings in the mind and in the heart. On the other hand, the gospel also speaks of hope because it tells us that although the king’s servants were killed, others came and will continue to come.

Even today, God calls souls to be His witnesses in this world, souls who consecrate themselves totally to Him. This consecration becomes even more evident in the priestly and religious life. There are many sufferings that a priest must endure from the day he chooses to enter the seminary until perhaps the last day of his life. Believe it or not, the sufferings that the Apostle Paul describes in his second letter to the Corinthians are still a reality today for many priests. Many fathers here present can attest to this because they accompany me in many of them. But all the sufferings that both priests and parishioners experience differently are means by God by which God teaches us to fight so that one day we will be able to share in the Glory of the Lamb of God, men of suffering who carried our pain to show us the way toward God. The Catholic faith is not for cowards. Being witnesses of Christ does not mean praying for patience and waiting for God to give us patience. Being witnesses of Christ is knowing that He will assist us with His grace but He will also give us the opportunity to put our patience into practice.

In short, the gospel ends with this phrase, “For many are called, but few are chosen”. Certainly, very few are chosen but God continues to send these days souls with potential to be chosen. God continues to love His creatures giving them the opportunity. Every baby that is born is proof of this. May God give us the grace so that we can always do everything for His greater glory.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Fr. Paul Alvarez  – September 30, 2018
19th Sunday after Pentecost   7:30 Mass
 
Father began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.
In today’s gospel we have the parable of the royal banquet. In it, Christ addresses those who rejected God. The parable has two parts: one is the rejection of the Jews; the other is the singular rejection of each individual. The reasons are different. The rejection of the Jews is motivated because they did not hear the prophets but they killed them. The individual rejection is characterized by a man who does not wear the wedding garment but has entered the room of the banquet; that is, he has entered the Church but he is not in the state of grace. That is to say, that of those who are lost, some reject the Faith or they do not believe, while others believe but do not live according to the Faith. But the parable speaks not only of them, but also indirectly of those who accept the mission of being witnesses of Christ before the world from which all of us are called to detach ourselves.
 
When a child is born it is normal to observe in him certain reflexes that we call innate reflexes. For example, the sucking reflex, the swallowing reflex or the grasping reflex. What is not innate is the act of releasing things, letting things go. The human being has to learn to let things go, to be detached from them. Usually a child achieves this at the fifth month or so but there are some humans who will not achieve this in a lifetime.
 
St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, Doctor of the Church, constantly insisted that the Christian should strive to achieve the distacco, an Italian word that we can translate as “detachment”. But a detachment not only of material things but essentially of all those thoughts, words and deeds that separate us from God. Ideas are perhaps the most important foundation that precedes our actions and as such they are the ones that we must strive to reform, adapting them to the will of God, because as we think, we end up so living.
 
Last Sunday I was giving a class to a group of young people in Italy and one of them asked me what I thought of this priest who emphatically denounced the calamitous pontificate of Pope Francis but wished for the return of Benedict. It did not take me too long to show them that both are acting in complicity. Like this Italian priest, many are shocked by the consequences of Pope Francis but they refuse to analyze the cause. This attitude can almost be considered pathological, something similar to schizophrenia. If we are scandalized only by immoral actions but we do not look at the ideas that sustain them, we will fall into the same mistake of many conservative groups who try to cover the sand with a finger, demanding the resignation of Pope Francis without understanding that seven worse demons can come to occupy his place. In Peter Seewald’s Book about Benedict XVI, he puts together the words of Benedict XVI quite clearly. “I wrote the text of my resignation in Latin because something so important you do in Latin”. In those words he said, “No one tried to blackmail me. If someone had tried to blackmail me, I would not have left, because you cannot leave when you are under pressure.” Even more, in a letter addressed to the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Benedict XVI affirms that there is an entire continuity between his pontificate and the one of Francis. His words were, “Pope Francis is a man of deep philosophical and theological formation”.
 
Lastly, on September 21, letters written by Benedict to Cardinal Brandmuller were leaked, in which Benedict says, “However, for some people and — it seems to me — also for you, the pain has turned into an anger that no longer merely concerns my resignation, but increasingly also my person and my papacy as a whole”. “By this, the papacy itself is now being devalued and melted into the sorrow about the situation in which the church currently finds itself.”
 
As we can see, Benedict and Francis are on the same page. Benedict is a clever man grown evil with age as the Prophet Daniel would say. While Francis is a crude and bolder man but both are in the end the same thing.
 
Now what does this have to do with the gospel of today? Well, this is a clear example of why we must learn to get rid of those ideas that separate us from God. The text we hear today says, “And the king sent his servants to call in those invited to the marriage feast but they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, and another to his business, and the rest laid hands on his servants, treating them shamefully and killed them”. Each of those invited preferred to follow their own desires rather than to do the will of the king to the point of committing murder, killing the prophets of God and even deicide, killing the Son of God. This, my dear brothers and sisters, is the consequence of harboring bad ideas and bad feelings in the mind and in the heart. On the other hand, the gospel also speaks of hope because it tells us that although the king’s servants were killed, others came and will continue to come.
 
Even today, God calls souls to be His witnesses in this world, souls who consecrate themselves totally to Him. This consecration becomes even more evident in the priestly and religious life. There are many sufferings that a priest must endure from the day he chooses to enter the seminary until perhaps the last day of his life. Believe it or not, the sufferings that the Apostle Paul describes in his second letter to the Corinthians are still a reality today for many priests. Many fathers here present can attest to this because they accompany me in many of them. But all the sufferings that both priests and parishioners experience differently are means by God by which God teaches us to fight so that one day we will be able to share in the Glory of the Lamb of God, men of suffering who carried our pain to show us the way toward God. The Catholic faith is not for cowards. Being witnesses of Christ does not mean praying for patience and waiting for God to give us patience. Being witnesses of Christ is knowing that He will assist us with His grace but He will also give us the opportunity to put our patience into practice.
 
In short, the gospel ends with this phrase, “For many are called, but few are chosen”. Certainly, very few are chosen but God continues to send these days souls with potential to be chosen. God continues to love His creatures giving them the opportunity. Every baby that is born is proof of this. May God give us the grace so that we can always do everything for His greater glory.
 
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Posted on October 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm

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