Dear Fellow Catholics,
In the absence of Holy Mass this Sunday, please find Fr. Trauner’s sermon for this Sunday:
My dearly beloved in Our Lord,
Today’s liturgical texts lead us back to the essential question we have raised lately: How can we carry on the Christian life in loyalty to Christ?
In many ways we are under the obligation to go against the letter of the law. “The letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth”, says St Paul.
He sets right the fundamental order of things, and in this we must follow him for the sake of our immortal souls. This right order consists in the primacy of the spiritual realities as compared to the material things.
Several times the Pharisees or others who thought they knew all about God’s law, made severe reproaches to Our Lord: That he did not observe the law of the Sabbath day; that his disciples did not, either, etc. Our Lord answers them by returning their argument against them: They reproach him that he heals people on the day of the Lord – but they would not hesitate to pull out their donkey or cow if it were to fall into a pit on the Sabbath day. They say that he is casting out the devils in the name of Beelzebub, the leader of the evil spirits – but he replies that this is obvious nonsense, for a kingdom divided in itself is bound to collapse…
Today a doctor of the law (legisperitus) stands up to Our Lord to defy him about the meaning of the great commandment of charity. Christ responds with a parable that is very striking, at the least, and, at the most, insulting to the Jews.
He is driving home, with the parable of the good Samaritan, a point which up to our days we have the greatest difficulty to understand: The true love of one’s neighbor.
With our mind very much focused on material of earthly things, we easily tend to restrict as much as possible the notion of who is our neighbor: our family members, those who attend Mass with us… Apart from that, we feel free to treat just about every else like… dirt.
This is not according to Our Lord’s teaching. Our neighbor is whoever crosses our way! We are supposed to grant the same good to him that we want for ourselves. For we are told to love our neighbor as our own self. If you were lying on the ground bleeding, you would want whoever comes past, to help you and save you. So do the same to the one whom you find lying on the ground bleeding.
What distinguishes Christian charity from the modern-type or “bergogliesque” charity or mercy?
Mainly, that for them it is a pure verbal concept without any consequences. The free-masonic humanists talk about “building a better, a more just” world – but this does not keep them from getting rid – even physically – of whoever gets in the way of their true objectives. Bergoglio laments different abuses – but the only effective reform under way seems to be that of the Vatican financial administration! Humanistic or bergogliesque charity is not effective. It is words without meaning – they do not effectively mean what they say.
Secondly, humanistic charity is godless. For charity due to our neighbor must never be separated from the first and foremost part of the great commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” (Gospel) Only he who truly loves God with all he is and all he has, can truly love his neighbor. Modern-type “love” is profoundly uncharitable because it is ungodly, it is neither theological nor supernatural.
We are in constant danger of getting absorbed by the pestilential and over-powering flood of godlessness that characterizes our times.
Today’s Gospel is taken from the chapter where Our Lord has sent out another 72 disciples. As they come back, they are delighted by the great miracles which they have been able to accomplish in the name and power of Our Lord. Jesus is happy for them, but not for the same reasons for which they rejoice. They are glad that they can heal the sick and cast out the devils. But Our Lord says: “But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10,20) In other words, he is happy that they have responded and still we respond to the divine call which he has given them: To be his true disciples, sharing his labor and passion, and ultimately his glory. For many of those 72 disciples are honored as Saints, and we find their names all throughout the year in the Roman Martyrology.
This is a great lesson for us, especially in this puffed-up world. Whatever we might achieve, even with regards to the kingdom of God, is principally His doing, not ours. We can only be humble instruments of God’s grace, providers but not producers of divine gifts. With fear and trembling we must make sure that our election and predestination will be effective. What a lesson of profound humility!
This is why, at the beginning of today’s Gospel, Our Lord says: “Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see…” Our very material existence is totally at the service of the divine call.
When an adult is baptized, the priest makes the sign of the Cross on the different parts of the catechumen’s body. When he makes it on his eyes, he says: “I sign your eyes that you may see the glory of God.” On the ears: “I sign your ears so that you may hear the divine precepts”.
Last week we have heard about another ceremony of Baptism: “Ephphetha” – “be opened”, Our Lord had said when he had touched the mute and deaf man’s ears and tongue.
For the Catholic the earthly things, starting with his own body, are just opportunities or occasions or instruments of serving God – according to the first part of the great commandment, that we shall love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind. In the last resort our eyes are made to contemplate God face to face, our ears have been given us to listen to the divine teaching and to make it the rule of our earthly life while awaiting life eternal.
There is more than a semantic connection between our five senses and a sensible or senseless life. The younger generations agree to totally exacerbate their senses with superficial sensual gratification, and their lives are becoming increasingly senseless. For the true use of our senses is not to get immediate epidermic pleasure; but to deliver impressions to the intellect so that this highest of human faculties, by abstraction and reflexion, can come to the knowledge of the truth and stand by it.
So let us be careful to use whatever God has given us for the right purpose.
Let us practice truth in charity (cf. Eph 4,15).
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
If you wish to downoload you can find the sermon here: sermon 160807EN