Fr. Trauner’s Sermon 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

My dearly beloved in Our Lord,

“What things soever were written, were written for our hearing: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope.” (Rom 15,4)

Thus St Paul addresses the first Christians. We, like they, are not protestants who believe that “only scripture” is the source of divine revelation. But scripture is, together with the apostolic tradition, the primary source of revelation.

A particular place within Holy Scripture is reserved for the Psalms. Their number is exactly 150, and most if not all of them have been composed by the King-Prophet David, the second king of Israel.

They are all most beautiful and inspiring, and this is why Holy Church has chosen them as the backbone of her liturgy. Each ordinary and proper of the Mass contains some parts of the Psalms; and it is also the essential component of the Church’s breviary.

Today we want to cast our eyes on Psalm 72 which contains a great lesson, and an important consolation for the true Catholics in the face of the world.

“How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart.”

Of course we are not talking here about the state of “Israel” as it exists today and which runs, for example, the largest prison in the world, the Gaza stripe with its 3,5 million inmates. The Apostles already have made it very clear that the Church founded by Jesus Christ, God made man, is the true Israel; and that the unfaithful Jews, i.e. all those from among the chosen people of the Old Covenant who refuse to accept Christ as the true Son of God, are nothing else but the synagogue of Satan (cf. Apc 2,9), are nothing more than a constant reminder for the children of God with regards to the consequences of infidelity towards the Creator and the Savior.

God is infinitely good towards such souls as are of a right heart and mind: “Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis”.

“But my feet were almost moved; my steps had wellnigh slipped.

Because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners.”

It is a great mystery that the true children of God are kept waiting for their reward, while the wicked souls seem to enjoy paradise on earth, or just about:

“For there is no regard to their death, nor is there strength in their stripes.

They are not in the labour of men: neither shall they be scourged like other men.”

This blatant welfare of the wicked is a temptation for the just. For many will follow the steps of those who are doing well in this earthly life.

“Therefore pride hath held them fast: they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness.

Their iniquity hath come forth, as it were from fatness: they have passed into the affection of the heart.

They have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.

They have set their mouth against heaven: and their tongue hath passed through the earth.”

Just look at Bergoglio and his likes, the children of the “reformation”, of “revolution” and other free-masonic creatures! “Their tongue hath passed through the earth”: They have an audience throughout the world which has set up a civilization totally opposed to true culture established through the true Faith. Very much like “pop” or “rock stars” who have made an explicit pact with Satan, they are thriving during their earthly existence. And their apparent well-being is a constant occasion of scandal to the weak children of God:

“Therefore will my people return here and full days shall be found in them.

And they said: How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the most High?”

The number of those having followed the maxims of “the world” since the days of protestantism, is beyond any estimation. The foundations of Christian civilization built upon unchanging and supernatural rules having been sapped, it is increasingly difficult to stay on the right track which seems to lead nowhere. Only too easily is the Christian soul scandalized and prone to think:

“Behold these are sinners; and yet abounding in the world they have obtained riches.

And I said: Then have I in vain justified my heart, and washed my hands among the innocent.

And I have been scourged all the day; and my chastisement hath been in the mornings.”

But with the help of God’s grace, the Christian mind does that which is properly human: it reflects and ponders the situation in order to solve this apparent riddle:

“If I said: I will speak thus; behold I should condemn the generation of thy children.

I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight:

Until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand concerning their last ends.”

The one thing that is of real interest for a Catholic, is the question: “Quid ad aeternitatem? – What does this mean for eternity?” “Modern” man only cares about material interests; a Christian cares about his soul’s fate in eternity.

Under this regard things suddenly look very different: We are suffering here; we must deny our senses many pleasures and satisfaction in which the children of darkness put their highest ideal. – But their end is horrible: often here on earth; always in eternity.

“But indeed for deceits thou hast put it to them: when they were lifted up thou hast cast them down.

How are they brought to desolation? They have suddenly ceased to be: they have perished by reason of their iniquity.

As the dream of them that awake, O Lord; so in thy city thou shalt bring their image to nothing(…)”

By taking away our eyes from a merely superficial regard upon reality, and by looking at the fundamental truths – death and judgment; heaven and hell – our heart is maybe afflicted, but happy:

“I am become as a beast before thee: and I am always with thee.

Thou hast held me by my right hand; and by thy will thou hast conducted me, and with thy glory thou hast received me.

For what have I in heaven? And besides thee what do I desire upon earth?

For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.”

So the riddle of the seeming “prosperity of sinners” is solved by the firm look upwards, to God who is faithful, “Deus fidelis”. The holy Prophet sums up his insight in the last three verses:

“For behold they that go far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee.

But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God:

That I may declare all thy praises, in the gates of the daughter of Sion.”

Of course Faith separates us from the world, in the first place. But it is Martin Luther’s fundamental error to have overlooked the important difference between Faith and Hope. His “faith” is “fides fiducialis” which makes Hope unnecessary. But Faith perfections the human intelligence; Hope has its seat in the human will power. Even the devils know and believe that God exists; but they have no Hope, no Charity. All those who follow Luther’s revolt, put themselves in a similar position.

The true disciple of Christ knows that he has no permanent dwelling-place in this material world – and thus he refuses to be materialistic. Our true fatherland is in Heaven. This is why we must, together with Faith and Charity, practice the divine virtue of Hope also; if we neglect this virtue, we will certainly perish.

“But when these things begin to come to pass” – the forebodings of Christ’s coming to judge the living and the dead – “look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk 15,28; cf. 1st Sunday of Advent) It is the virtue of Hope that makes us to lift up our heads, to look up towards Heaven unwaveringly.

May Our Lady, the Mother of holy Hope, grant us an increase in Faith, Hope and Charity.

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

If you would like to take a copy for yourself please click here:sermon 170122EN

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