Sermons

Summary: We have to solve the problem back at the source of the problem. And that’s the human mind and heart.

Ascension Sunday 2019

“Let us then be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of . . .human trickery.” If you’ve ever been a supervisor of little boys, you know what St. Paul is writing about to the Ephesians. One little kid has a stupid idea–let’s throw some cats in a garbage can, or the like–and finds it easy to convince all the others in his circle to do it. Next thing you know you’ve got six or seven kids following a stupid idea and creating a mess for you to clear up. Paul certainly had seen this happen, perhaps in his own family. He didn’t need to know, as we know, that until a young man is 25 years of age, his frontal lobe–the part that makes decisions–is not fully formed. And the young women are only a little ahead of that.

So Jesus ascended on high to the right hand of the Father, freeing the souls who had been in prison awaiting His resurrection, and setting up the greatest free gift program in human history–the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. His sacrifice came at the right time, and our gift comes at the right time today. Do you listen to the radio, or read your Internet news? Isn’t it clear that way too many women and men “live as the pagans do–their minds empty, their understanding darkened. . .estranged from a life in God because of their ignorance and their resistance.” Yes, without remorse this culture has “abandoned [itself] to lust and the indulgence of every sort of lewd conduct.” It includes now the promotion of gender dysphoria, as well as adultery, promiscuity, homosexual acts and the murder of children before, during or right after birth.

Not long ago a fellow on the East coast murdered several of his fellow workers in a government office. He took a pistol and shot one after another until he died in a gun battle with police. What continually amazes me is that some politicians automatically respond to senseless violence like that by proposing laws that would take away to some extent the victims’ right to defend themselves. I’m not here going to get into a debate on gun laws. What I’d like to propose is that if we want to improve society, the track record of passing laws with that objective has been pretty dismal over the past century.

No, let’s see if we can put equal eloquence and energy into a program that really will work. We have to solve the problem back at the source of the problem. And that’s the human mind and heart. Nobody forced that killer to pick up a gun, load it and shoot his coworkers. The weapon didn’t jump into his hand and attract his index finger to the trigger, his thumb to the safety. It was a malicious act of the man’s own will that killed all those people. If we are to reduce or hopefully eliminate this horrible mayhem, we have to rely on the grace of God and take action to help convert minds and hearts to the Gospel message–love one another as Jesus loved us.

Now the plan is pretty simple, the plan of God. First, it is necessary that we of the household of God “lay aside” our former way of life and the old self “which self-destructs through illusion and sinful desires.” We have to acquire the fresh way of thinking, the spiritual way of thought of Jesus, and center all our plans on right living, right worship, and spreading the Good News. If we all become the new kind of human first exemplified in Mary and Jesus, then we will have a Church that is attractive to all people of good will.

Next, we have to share this good news with those we are responsible for–our family members. Our children have to be the first to hear the message of Christ, through family prayer, especially Mass and the Rosary, but also other devotions like that of the Divine Mercy and the Divine Office. We need to teach our children and grandchildren the Faith, the Scriptures and the Catechism.

And then we need to aid in the task of evangelization. I believe everyone can pray, as the Little Flower, St. Therese, did, for missionaries. But we can also help financially any of the religious orders or other ministries that have an outreach to former Catholics, to non-Catholics, to atheists, and even to non-Christians like Muslims. God wills that all be saved, so God’s word must be shared with all. We have all received God’s favor freely from the pierced hand of the Savior, and been washed in the flowing stream from His Sacred Heart. Let’s show our gratitude by doing as He said, so that the world might turn its eyes and mind and heart to the loving Father.

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