Sermon for the Second Sunday after Pentecost – June 10, 2012 by Father Stephen Galambos
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
We just had the feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Blessed Sacrament, the feast of the sign of Divine Love, the Eucharist. We have just read the letter of St. John, who was the beloved disciple of Our Lord. He is talking about the love of God, and He contrasts it with the world. And He said, “Do not wonder if you find the world hating you”. Jesus, in the gospels tells us “that the world will hate you because of Me”. St. John understood this, it touched him very deeply. And he penetrated this concept of the contrast between God’s love and the hatred of the world for us. It is a very strong contrast.
The Lord Jesus in the gospel speaks about a man, He doesn’t identify who this man was, but we take it that He was speaking to the Pharisees. As you heard it introduced, He spoke a parable to the Pharisees and He was, in a gentle way, trying to bring them around, because they were his adversaries, many of them, though many of them turned to Him after He had died and risen. We know that. So, Our Lord is giving this parable about a man — now we know, after the Church reflecting on His gospel that He was really talking of Himself inviting the Jewish people, chosen by Him as God’s instruments, and they were the ones who were invited. They were given the revelations all the way from the beginning. Read the entire Old Testament and you will see the relationship between God and Israel, its’ constant failing God by the Jewish people, and God punishing them, trying to bring them back to their senses, other times having expressed His forgiveness, mercy, and draws them, one of the prophet says, with cords of love, very graphic, pulling the hearts of man with cords of love. Because God is love and that is where we shall find our repose, our peace, our eternal rest in the love of God.
Jesus said, if you read the sixth chapter of St. John is where he described in great detail the sacrament of His love, the Eucharist — the sixth chapter written by St. John, again, penetrates the love of God very deeply, and Jesus makes the startling statement for those who heard it for the first time. The apostles were there, they heard it for the first time, too. But many, thousands of them, just left, Who can listen to this? Eat my body? Drink my blood? This is a challenge, but those who had not faith, Jesus sorted them out by this statement. Those who didn’t have faith, including Judas, they were marked, being separated by their own choice. Because Jesus said, “Those who have no faith are already condemned”. This is a very delicate, very nuanced, powerful meaning contained in that stark statement, consuming the flesh of the Son of man.
Now, the Church has grown to understand it over the years. As Jesus said, “The Holy Ghost will guide you and will make you understand all the things that I have taught you”, and so it happened. But in those first moments when these people with no faith in Him, they were looking for a handout. They were. In fact, the next day, after Jesus fed them, He reminds them, “You didn’t come here because of the truth of revelations, but because you want to have your belly full”. Jesus told them that right to their face, challenging them. Jesus knew, and He sorted those out by this statement that had no faith in Him. And they were determined not to have faith in Him.
We also ourselves must be very careful, because God is inviting us all, too, to His wedding. So, in the parable that Jesus spoke, it is Himself who is inviting us, and the very fact that — if you notice in the parable, the man who made the invitation shows his feelings and he is angry at the fact that his invitation is taken so lightly. The first bought a farm, “Hold me excused”; the second, “I bought five yoke of oxen, hold me excused. I must try them”. And the third one, very ordinary, everybody does, “I got married. I got a wife, forget it, I’m too busy”. These seem like plausible excuses. You even today might say maybe this person inviting was too demanding or unrealistic. That explanation comes from a lack of faith. So we ourselves are being challenged even after two thousand years of teaching. Do not take the love of God in vain. It’s not cheap, not to be compared to anything earthly, even marriage.
St. John elsewhere says that if you have love in your heart for the world and the things of this world, you are out. There is no supernatural faith in you or anyone doing that. Dear Faithful, this is very, very important. By now, millions of Catholics have lost the idea of the supernatural. Christians are not what they are supposed to be. We ourselves are being challenged by these words and the readings of today. Our value system is so much overcrowded by things of the world, the way we dress, the way we treat others, the way we entertain, the hopes that our young people have, expectations of this life, lacking the supernatural. It’s all down here. And unless we have this supernatural faith in Jesus, God giving us our very being, God sustaining us daily from above, and yet we forget who is the Maker and who He is. We can so easily lose our soul. Catholics calling themselves Catholics, the truth of Christ finds us out.
There will be a judgment and this is exactly — I’m not taking this lightly — the main character, this Person who is inviting is Our Lord, and showing Jesus building the parable in such a way as to show Him angry, for the invitation not to be respected and responded to favorably, showing His anger at it, is a subtle but real premonition of the judgment that is awaiting us. Judgment.
I don’t know about you, but I was born right in the second World War. The Russians in Hungary overtook us. After living in Communism, which is a terror state — the children I was sitting next to in the classroom, I had no clue what they had in their head, nor did they know what I had in my head. Everyone was in terror, fearing everyone else. If I say something, I’ll be reported. My parents will lose their jobs and they did and they disappeared. Nobody could question what happened to such and such family next door. They just disappeared. They lived it and revolted in 1956. The world has known, but many of you are too young to know, the elderly may remember it reading in the paper. This was a world event that little Hungary revolted against Russia.
Wars are punishment from God. Many people don’t say that, don’t believe that. I do. We bring upon ourselves what we deserve, and it is a sign from God, a sign, a warning. If you are familiar with the story of Our Lady of Fatima, do not offend God, He is already too much offended. For several years Our Lady appeared in many places and her images kept bleeding, weeping Madonna, blood. And now there is silence. And this Obama getting into the White House, wielding the power, we are being tried in America. And Americans are not what they are supposed to be. We are a freedom-loving country and people don’t think anything about their freedom. Our founding fathers fought for that with their very lives, and they sacrificed everything for it. And we think nothing of our freedom. Half of Americans, or maybe more than half, couldn’t care less. They take it for granted. And we could lose that freedom so badly, it will be too late when we wake up.
All these are signs from God. Jesus is coming. I don’t know when. But all the signs are pointing to it. It is important that you and I have faith as we spoke of, several of us last night, faith and perseverance. But is our faith really supernatural? Does it bring the fruits, the deeds that speak of our faith, do we live like that? Or are we going to rot, and, Well, God forgives. I was told by priests, Don’t worry, God is forgiving. But I had to look out for my own salvation and many times I had to not follow the priests because they would not lead me toward penance. They wanted to turn me away from penance.
Now, I wonder sometimes how many of us here in this chapel take the love of God lightly, and have the attitude in confession, Here I am, priest. Now give me absolution and let me get out. That person at least came to confession, but how many of us do not go to confession, knowing that this is not just a piece of bread, or a sign of God’s love, it is His love in person, the Eucharist, that requires purity of heart, being in the state of grace, knowing what the difference is between mortal and venial sin, and have a conscience. These are signs that are telling and revealing who we are, what kind of Catholics we are.
Jesus said toward the end, “The love of men will grow cold, and when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth?” These are very stark concepts and words and the message is very serious. It is about our life our death, forever. So I hope these words either irritate you or touch you, but that you don’t grow numb and indifferent, because the purpose of it is that we do have His love in us and we don’t take it lightly. Because, as St. John says, “Those who have room in their heart for the things of the world have no room for God”. This is a great divider.
How many of us can be innocent after examining our soul? Why did Phillip say, “Will there be many saved?. And Jesus said, “Few”. If no one else goes into heaven, Jesus is there, He represents all humanity, God’s plan has been fulfilled. But where does that leave us? St. John grows very tender toward the end of the passage here. He says, “My little children, let us not love in word, don’t talk about it. Show it in deed and in truth, because this is the kind of faith Jesus wants.” He who believes that the Father seeks is the kind of man who worships God in spirit and truth, which is hidden. It requires quiet prayer time daily. I find myself saying more often to the penitent in confession, You know, you may pray with people in groups, students, saying the rosary together, but I am finding out very few, if any — there are some — pray privately also. The signs of the saints tell us, Unless we pray individually in my own private time, when I could choose to either search the internet or do many things I choose, or say, “no.” Where is my time with God privately?
So, dear people, the Eucharist is with us. As was foretold, God will be with you, Emmanuel, and this is what Jesus fulfilled when He established the Eucharist. The gospel says, “I desired with great desire this night, the night when He instituted the Eucharist, because He will be with us until the very last day. God is reaching out to every one of us, holding Himself with an open door to come to Him. Even while the world’s love grows cold, He will stay here until there is a Catholic altar with a Catholic Mass, and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Just be grateful that God’s providence allowed tradition to be. And let us also pray for His Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and Bishop Fellay that they come to accord according to the Heart of Jesus. So let us pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary for that purpose. And with that I close and I ask you to examine your heart and your soul if you really love Our Lord Jesus and how you can show it.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.