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Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany – November 18, 2018 by Father Paul Alvarez Norton

Fr. Paul Alvarez
November 18, 2018
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Father began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.

The two parables that we hear today, as well as others that are called the Parables of the Church – (that is, the wheat and the tares, the net cast into the sea and the king who leaves and returns to his subjects who revolt against him) contain the philosophy of Christ.

It seems that today philosophy has died, especially since good philosophy is no longer studied or correctly developed in religion, much less logic. In fact, the enemies of religion employ a set of incoherent babblings that they claim to call philosophy, to try to twist the foundations of Faith. Wherever there is a theological error there was usually a philosophical error that prepared the way for it. Philosophy is certainly a slave to theology but is also a detective capable of identifying the intrinsic errors that exist in false religions.

Aristotle is a clear example of this. Naturally, revelation is necessary to know God and His plan of salvation for humanity. That is why God Himself became man so that man can live with God. Christ then reveals the Divine Plan but delimiting it in a Church outside of which there is no salvation. He represented this Church with the image of living things, all of which have a beginning, live, and come to an end; in other words, deathly things. A little seed — the smallest, becomes a tree — the largest. The tree lives for a long time but at last it dries up and if it has not died naturally, someone kills it.

The wheat is sown to be threshed, thus it will bear fruit and die. Our Lord warned the apostles,”Nisi granum frumenti cadens in terram mortuum fuerit, ipsum solum manet. Si autem mortuum fuerit, multum fructum affert. – “Unless a grain of wheat falling to the ground dies, it remains alone. But if it dies it brings forth much fruit.” But the wheat and the tares grow alongside each other until the harvest. Good and bad live here on earth together until the number of good servants and their brethren who are to be slain should be filled up. Many people think that God is waiting for the sins of humanity to reach an intolerable level but the Apocalypse says something else – that God is waiting for the number of the elect who will share this crown to be completed.

It is difficult to imagine that the current situation could get worse. Also, if yeast, whose only purpose is to make the dough rise and after its function is fulfilled it disappears, that would be the function of the Church in humanity. Certainly the Church will exist forever but she is intimately linked to her Founder. She had her birth, her missionary life and now she is in the time of her passion. After that, she will also be transfigured like the Divine Master.

But how can you be sure of this, Father? a naïve person might ask me. How can you be so sure that there will be a passion of the Church? Well, this is when it is useful to use philosophy and logic. Philosophy helps us to analyze reality, and logic gives us the certainty that the analysis is coherent. Of both certainly we do not have to be Socrates to understand what is going on in the world today. For example, last week I went to New York and in my free time I went to visit the town of Esopus where the Redemptorist priests had one of their three main houses on the East Coast. The imposing house known as Mount St. Alphonsus housed up to a thousand (1000!) religious. The chapel majestically decorated with images of the lives of the Redemptorist saints in gold and silver reminded the seminarians and religious of all the glories of belonging to one of the most important missionary congregations of the Church. Today this sacred ground is owned by the Baptists. The Redemptorist congregation sold this historic property because only three elderly priests who lived in it could no longer take care of everything. I do not know which hurt me more, to see the ruins of the building that this group of Protestants is trying to restore and to see that they are the ones who value this place so much that they are making serious studies to restore it, or to see the spiritual ruins of the congregation that once filled the harbors of the Hudson River with religious, eager to sail to missions in the most remote places, or the degrading of the retired Redemptorist priest who live a few miles from this Redemptorist house, who the Baptists called so that he could meet with me. When he saw me, he put his hands together and lowered his head making the classic eastern Hindu greeting of Namaste.

If this is not the passion of the Church, I do not know what worse may be coming. On the other hand, the few traditional priests who remain do everything we can out of love for the faithful, but we never have enough time. Never! I feel sad when someone asks me to offer a Mass but I have to say no because all my days are taken. There are no priests. What worse punishment for the faithful people? St. Augustine says that when God gives eternal glory to men, God crowns His own gifts because the very merits of that man by which he really deserves heaven, citing the Council of Trent, are in the end, gifts of God. The only things our free will can offer are our correspondence to grace and the gift of our good will. So God accompanies each one of us with His Providence and He does the same with all mankind which has the same goal as the individual man. In short, everything on earth is destined to grow, to live, and to come to a finish; but finally, to end up in a transfiguration.
All this is summarized in the saying of St. Peter. We do not have a permanent homeland here, but we struggle for the future. That is the composition of the Christian. Opposed to this is the ­­­­­­­­­composition of the wicked where the earth is their permanent homeland; the end of humanity is evolution and the one world government of the anti-Christ. We are either the wheat to be stored in the granaries of God or we are the tares to be cast into the fire and burned. We are born, we grow and we die and then we are judged. There is no evolution. Let us look closely at the reality of human life that must reach its’ end in death.

The passion of the Church is ever more evident and also makes our mission more evident, a mission that is written in a single sentence in the book of Job, Chapter 7, verse 1, “Militia est vita hominis super terram, The life of  man here on earth is that of a soldier who fulfills his service.” So be it.
 
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Posted on December 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm

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