Sermon for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost – July 29, 2012 by Monsignor Perez
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
What I wanted to say today — I talked about our meditations, how meditation forms a part of the Catholic spiritual diet, as it were. And I talked sufficiently about that — what meditation is and how to do it properly. One thing I wanted to add to that is you have to have, whether you are doing meditation, or philosophy, or theology of some kind, you have to have a foundation. The foundation has to consist of things which are true about God. So, it takes some kind of setting.
Let’s liken it to — you know, people these days, not Catholics so much, maybe even Catholics, but people in general have a hard time picturing theology and things to do with religion as scientific. In fact, not only is it scientific, theology has traditionally been called the queen of sciences. Not only is it scientific, but the fruits of it are so much above the fruits of any other science that it is called the queen of the sciences.
So, just as if you are doing another lesser science, such as nuclear physics or something like that, you have to have certain correct assumptions or you can’t do the science right. For example, if you drop something that weighs more than air, for example, it’s going to go down. This is one of those assumptions. It doesn’t matter what you would like it to do. That’s what it is going to do. And you know we have Newton’s laws and all these kinds of things, and those form the basis of that. What must form the basis of Christian meditation are facts about God as well. And a couple being that God is All Good and All Merciful. God is Love, and, therefore, could never possibly do anything, I mean, incapable of doing anything that is evil or capricious or something in that sense to inflict pain upon you for its’ own sake.
Now, why do I mention that? Because sometimes we stray from that. We forget that the pain, the suffering, the calamities of life are because of original sin. We, in the form of Adam and Eve, brought that down upon ourselves, and we inherited that. Okay? That is, when bad things happen to good people, the root cause is the sinful condition of humanity and our world. Okay? Now, we tend to do things like blame God. How many times have I heard, Well, I didn’t go to church anymore because God did this to me and I got so upset with God. Well, okay, suppose you read in the gospel that you see at the grocery store, which is the National Inquirer — you pick up the National Inquirer and on the cover it has, 108 year-old great-great grandmother wins the Olympic Triathlon. Now, you have to say, Yes, we love granny, but, no, she’s incapable of that. You know, when pitted against these 19-year-old athletes, or 20-something-year-old athletes who have been training for this for most of their lives, and they all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, and this kind of thing, you’d have to say that the 108-year-old grandmother probably didn’t win the Olympic Triathlon, because it’s something of which she is absolutely incapable of. And so it is with God. When you say, God did this to me. I am angry with God. He inflicted this pain on me on purpose, you have to go, Wait, back up. God is incapable of that, because God is Love, God is Mercy, God is All Caring. He is our All Good Father.
Now, forming the background of that, we have some events both in the epistle and the gospel — well, the gospel is predicting one of the events, and, then, we have the event. Some thirty-seven years after the time of Our Lord’s Resurrection we get what He predicted in this gospel. And they are calamitous events. We don’t even know what a lot of them specifically are any more, but they were known to the people of the time. Some committed fornication and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. So, 23,000 people as a result of whatever this was. And some were murmuring and were destroyed by the destroyer, some tempted Christ and perished by the serpents. Now, 23,000 sounds like a lot, but you can see this escalating over time. Let’s say, what God allows to happen. Why does He allow these things? If God is All Good and All Kind, why did He not only allow this, but the thing predicted in the gospel — now let me tell you what was predicted in the gospel. What was predicted in the gospel was the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. And it happened at this wonderful place in the Holy Land. I’ve been there, there is a chapel there. The site is called, Dominus Flevit, for, The Lord Wept. And that is the place He wept over Jerusalem. There is a chapel there now, and I have said Mass in this chapel. Our Lord wept over Jerusalem because of what was going to happen to them as a result of them rejecting the Messiah, and rejecting every one of the prophets that had been sent to them.
Now, once again, the All-Good God does not inflict pain for the sake of inflicting. What He does is gives and withdraws grace according to how people act. For example, we have in the Old Testament, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Lot, who was the prophet in this case, although not considered really a major prophet, but certainly a spokesman for the Lord, talks with God and tries to bargain, “If I could find a hundred just men, will You save the city?” Okay, well He can’t find a hundred. Finally, “If I can find ten”, and he couldn’t find ten just men to save the cities, and, so, both of them perished. But what was perishing? God, in that case, did not give the special grace that would have been needed to avert this disaster, and which would have been merited by the state of souls of the just men that they were looking for. That would have been enough to appease Our Lord. But what God says, and we see it throughout — well, you know, the flood, big-time kind of thing — but, what He says is, Okay, human beings, you don’t want to obey My Law, you don’t want to obey My Commandments, you want to do it by yourselves, huh? And, so, what He says is, Okay, I’m going to let you try it by yourselves. And He takes away all the help and then what happens? I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of lemmings. Lemmings are these little furry beasties — I think they’re mammals, but they could be some evolved form of amoeba or something. But, anyway, they have legs and when the population gets too much — they live in some cold area — and they just go over the cliff and they drown in the ocean. Obviously, not a thought amongst them, they just follow each other off the cliff and nothing to stop them.
Well, this is what happens to us when God takes away His grace. We go into our own sins and suffer the consequences thereof. So, that’s what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course, it was fire and brimstone probably from some nearby volcano. But, in any case, had there been the number of just men in the city required, God would have not permitted the volcano to erupt and destroy them. And, so, we have these 23,000 who perished there and stuff like that.
Now, the Temple and Jerusalem. So, some — let’s go back a bit — 35 years, the year 68 AD, after Our Lord’s Resurrection, the people having rejected the Savior, were getting in to all kinds of craziness. Rome ruled the known world. And they didn’t rule it by giving out Hershey bars. They ruled it by violence. You complied or you suffered. They invaded. They put you to the sword. They crucified people to make examples of them to keep the populace subjugated. Well, having withdrawn His grace from these people for a long history of rejecting the prophets, this is what He said, “Not knowing the time of Your visitation”. Remember, there’s another part in these scriptures that talks about that He sent these prophets and they killed them all. And, of course, the greatest, if you want to put it, prophet, but being God Himself, was Our Lord. He was the last straw, the last, if you want to look at Him — He’s not just a prophet, but the last one who fits the prophetic — well, because He fits the perfect role because He did prophesy. They rejected that, so it was only then a matter of time before they got their comeuppance. 68 AD, they have a revolt against Rome. So, some rabble rousers got a bunch of the Jews together in Jerusalem and they killed a bunch of the Roman occupiers, threw them out of the city, and then closed off the city.
Well, as I said, Rome does not just say, Okay, we’ll see you later. I guess you don’t want us here kind of thing. So, what did they do? Well, the emperor at the time was none other than probably one of the most infamous and cruel emperors of the time, and that is Nero. And Nero sent his greatest general, Vespasian, to deal with the problem. Now picture, Jerusalem, at the time had walls. It was a walled city. But they went there and they did some fighting and things like that, killed a bunch of them and whatnot, but, then, in the middle of that — oh, they conquered all the outlying territories, because the Jewish rabble rousers had gotten some forts, too, and they demolished those and whatnot. Well, Nero met his end. And Vespasian was recalled to Rome.
In the meantime, then, when he went back to Rome, he was made emperor, and he had unfinished business with Jerusalem and the Jews. But he couldn’t leave Rome because of the duties of being emperor of the time, so he sent his son, Titus. So, Titus goes back with a huge, huge army. And in three days they erected a wall — I said it was a walled city, but it was walls with doors. They wanted to keep these people in because they were sieging it. They wanted to starve them to death, or at least until they surrendered.
In three days the Roman soldiers and engineers built a wall 10 miles in circumference around Jerusalem and began the siege. Now, in a very short time they ran pretty much completely out of food. The factions inside of Jerusalem started fighting with each other. But, then, when they realized the reality of the Romans, they united and kind of did their best at that point, I suppose. Well, the siege was set up, they ran out of food. In fact, at one point there were people, mothers roasting their own babies for food, is what happened there. And there are accounts of that from the historians. People, inside, at one point towards the end of the siege — I’ve got to get these numbers right — there were a hundred and fifty thousand some odd corpses. There were six hundred thousand that were thrown over the walls by the Jews themselves, too, because they were dead bodies, to prevent infection. One hundred fifty-eight thousand bodies, six hundred thousand others were thrown over the walls. In the end, almost everybody was dead. The Roman soldiers had learned that many Jews had swallowed gold to secure it from the avarice of the robbers, and then, when they captured them, they cut their stomachs open to find the gold. And it got very, very brutal.
Well, towards the end of this, what happened was almost everybody inside was dead, and the Romans invaded. Now, the various factions that were left almost starved to death, but they tried to defend the Temple. Well, the Romans went right for it, set fire to the outer buildings of the Temple, and then razed the Temple to the ground. Not a stone was left upon stone, as Our Lord had predicted.
During the siege — now get this — this was from not listening to His messengers He let this happen. During the siege, one million, one hundred thousand Jews lost their lives. Ninety-seven thousand others were sold as slaves, and the rest of the people disbursed over the whole earth. The numbers involved, just think about that.
So, why was it? Why would an All-Good God allow something like that to happen to what had been His chosen people? And it says right in the epistle of today. “Now all these things happened to them in figure, and they are written for our correction upon whom the ends of the world are come.” That is for our correction. The reason why these disasters happened wasn’t so much to punish them, but to motivate the elect, to the ones who would be saved, to give that as their correction. Because even the elect have the tendency sometimes to disobey the will of God. So He gives us these examples.
Look at the world since then. You know, we had Our Lady appearing at La Salette in the 1800s; Fatima, 1917 and afterwards to Sister Lucy. And each time we were told what we had to do. We had to do more prayers, more rosaries, and more penance. And unless we did them, something bad would happen at some future date. Now, how many years after these predictions we don’t know. Our Lady of La Salette said that whole cities would disappear beneath the waves of the ocean. Our Lady of Fatima said whole nations would be destroyed. Now, this is yet to happen. But this is what they say for our correction, “Upon whom the ends of the world have come“.
The world has not listened to the Blessed Virgin. You know, before, He sent the prophets. This time His love has been so great for us that He sent His own Mother. There is nobody after that. There will be nobody after the Blessed Virgin appearing to us and saying, you know, as they say in Ireland, Cop yourself on, you know, wake up. Okay? Well, they didn’t listen and so World War I happened, a result of our sins and as a punishment for not listening to Our Lady. We didn’t listen, they didn’t cop themselves on as it were. They didn’t wake up after that. And Our Lady said, If you don’t do it after this, there is going to be a bigger war. And there was. There were millions, millions, millions killed in World War I. There were many more millions killed in World War II. And, now, the world has not only, not returned to the Lord, they’ve gone further away. And, so, we have the promise of the annihilation of nations the next time. Will there be a World War III? There’s all the elements of it going on. You can see the buildup of a World War III. What would it take to ignite it? Not much, because we know how unstable and violent the world has become. Not only would there be a World War III, but might there be an asteroid, a solar flare, something that wipes out even nations, a very large percentage of humanity? There might be that.
What can we do? Are you frustrated? I’m frustrated sometimes. You know, it’s like if you meet the Pope, you want to shake his hand and kiss his ring, and say, Would you get busy and consecrate Russia? You know, that’s all it would take. That’s all it would take. Ten men could have saved Sodom and Gomorrah. On the other hand, the Ninevites, remember Jonah and the Ninevites? They converted and they were saved. He did not destroy Nineveh. So, you know, the Pope, what can he be thinking? Oh, we don’t want to upset people. We have to be politically correct, now, don’t we? Well, politically correct and whatever and respect for “these other false religions” is going to be the demise of a large part of humanity.
So, I am frustrated. On the other sense, it says in today’s epistle that God is faithful. He will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able. You see, the devil can tempt us, the devil can get us to be lukewarm or to lose our faith, or tempt us to do that, but we have it from God that we always have the grace not to do what the devil wants us to do. The problem is, we just say, Oh, forget it. It’s too much trouble resisting the devil, and we go ahead and do it.
But, what can we do? Well, rosaries, prayers, fine. But there’s one other thing that Our Lord is demanding for which He gave us the First Fridays and the First Saturdays. Reparation. The First Fridays and First Saturdays are to console the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the sins and outrages and blasphemies committed against them for which we are going to bite it big time at some time in the future if this reparation isn’t done. You have the perfect opportunity. I must say that First Friday, First Saturday attendance is improving at our parish, but there are a lot of people here who could be here and should be here, but simply aren’t. Now, you all know your work schedules, etc. Okay, you make your excuses to God, but what I am saying is, you could be the ten who would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah by your acts of reparation on the First Fridays and First Saturdays, which is what Our Lady and Our Lord is calling for through Our Lady. Remember the picture of Our Lady’s heart and Our Lord’s heart surrounded by thorns which pierced their heart. Those thorns are our sins. And those thorns will be pulled out one by one by our acts of reparation. When those thorns are removed because a sufficient number of us have consoled the Sacred Heart and consoled the Immaculate Heart, then the grace will come. A flood of grace will come from those hearts which will result in the consecration of Russia. You see, we’re looking at it from kind of the other way around. We are waiting for the consecration, we are praying for the consecration of Russia, but we’re not going through it the right steps. The consecration of Russia is not going to happen because we are praying for it. It’s going to happen because we are doing reparation to Our Lady and Our Lord, because of the grace that comes from that reparation. Then the flood of grace will come upon the Pope and the bishops and they will do the consecration which will save what is left of humanity by that point.
So, think about that. Think of the thorns you put into those hearts and think of you removing those thorns with your acts of reparation. Only then will we go anywhere and avoid the consequences of not knowing the day of our visitation.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.