Fr. Trauner’s Sermon 8th Sunday after Pentecost

Dear Fellow Catholics,

In the absence of Holy Mass this Sunday, please find Fr. Trauner’s sermon for this Sunday:

 

Sermon for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, July 10th, 2016

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

My dearly beloved in Our Lord,

 

Holy Church has special texts for the proper of the Mass on the Octave day of the holy Apostles Sts Peter and Paul.

Its collect speaks about one more thing that these two princes of the Apostles have in common: Both have been saved from death in water. St Peter was made to walk over the water of lake Genesareth by Our Lord. When he perceived the strong wind and the waves caused by it, he was taken by fear and thus started to go down under the water. Our Lord then takes him by the hand and saves him, saying: “O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?” (Gospel, Mt 14,31)

St Paul recounts himself that he has suffered shipwreck three times, and that he has spent a night and a day floating on the open sea (2Cor 11,25).

The sea with its huge waves – particularly when it is storming – is an image of the present time, as opposed to the calm and the stability of eternity. Our earthly life is in permanent change, as are the waters of the ocean (or of a big lake, like the lake of Genesareth). We are in constant danger to be swallowed by the masses of water in which – unlike fishes – we cannot survive.

After his Resurrection, Our Lord is not found in a boat with his disciples, but he is standing on the shore (cf. Jn 21,1-14, Gospel for Wednesday in the Octave of Easter). The Fathers of the Church have not missed that point!

With regards to the Gospel at hand (Octave day of the Apostles Sts Peter and Paul), St Jerome (Hieronymus) says: “While the Lord dwells on the top of the mountain [i.e. praying], immediately a contrary wind starts and upsets the sea, and the Apostles are in danger. The danger of shipwreck carries on until Jesus comes. Then he comes to them during the fourth vigil of the night, walking on the sea. The night is divided into four spaces of three hours during which the soldiers take turns watching. Thus, when he says that the Lord has come to them during the fourth vigil, he shows that they were in danger all night. But at the end of the night, and at the consummation of the word, he will help them.”

Is this not a most beautiful and consoling thought for us, who are witnessing the signs of the approaching end of the world? Christ, Our Lord, and God, Our Father, do not act like over-protective parents often do – they think that by keeping all trouble away from their children, they will keep their children out of trouble and make life easier for them. Certainly parents must protect their children from physical, and even more so, from spiritual harm. But they must also keep in mind that life is a battle, and prepare their children accordingly to face life, and most particularly the Christian combat for the salvation of their soul.

Thus God gives us enough space and opportunity to strive and to suffer – for how else could we make up for our sins and ultimately reach the heavenly goal? He does not prevent us from suffering trials of all kinds, nor does He intervene straight away when they befall us. Sometimes He will let things reach their climax before helping us because then we realize that “our help is in the name of the Lord” (Ps 123,8), and thus we come to understand how necessary God’s help and grace and for us.

It is and will be the same in the life of Holy Church, St Jerome says. As Christ has come to rescue the disciples only “at the end of the night”, so he will also put an end to the present trial in his own time.

Until then, Holy Church relies on Christ’s infallible promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against her; that she has been solidly built on the rock of the papacy which cannot perish either. An actual Pope, who is the normal monarchical leader of the Church, can be lacking her, even over decades as at this stage – but the constitution of the Church cannot change. Some detail points of this question are dark to our human mind, but the truth revealed by Our Lord gives us sufficient clues to survive – just as the Apostles had to work hard all night in order to keep their boat afloat and their lives safe. In the same way Christ will bring about the solution to this – human speaking – unsolvable problem (Will Christ come to his Church again in the person of a true Pope, his Vicar on earth? Or is it going to end with the last coming of Christ as judge of the living and the dead…?) when things seem rather desperate to the human mind.

Many among you are making exceptional or even heroic efforts of Faith, Hope and Charity, be they single or married. Beware of defeatism! Beware of the spirit of the world which no-one of us can keep from tainting our minds, just as the Apostles’ ship could not avoid taking in water. But we must repel it, fight it, get rid of it whenever and wherever we become aware of it – a herculean task, especially if you are educating children.

May the holy Apostles, may the holy Family and all the Saints be our intercessors while for us “it is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God” (Lam 3,26).

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

If you wish to download your own copy it can be found here: sermon 160710EN.

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