2cornucopias

Realities

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/24 at 12:00 AM

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A 19 October 2014

  • One of the saints who will adorn our new mural is St. Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Edith Stein was a Jewish convert to Catholicism who became a Carmelite nun and was eventually martyred in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942.
  • But unlike her fellow Jews, St. Edith Stein went very willingly and knowingly to her death.
  • Edith’s keen intellect, coupled with a deep and intense personal prayer life, led her to the

    understanding of what was to befall the Jewish people long before anyone else in Germany

    had a clue as to just how evil the Nazis were.

  • And so in imitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Edith Stein offered up her life to

    our Lord as a personal holocaust for the sake of the Jewish people, for averting the Second

    World War, and for the sanctification of her Carmelite family.

  • In doing this, Edith prayed that God would receive her life as an act of atonement for the

    terrible atrocities being committed against God’s chosen people, with the hope of converting

    atheists and the Nazis. This is why Edith Stein is a saint.

  • Edith Stein did not wish to be a Christian in name only. She wanted to be totally conformed

    to our Lord by bearing the cross she saw being laid upon the Jewish people. Edith wanted to

    share fully in our Lord’s suffering and death in a supreme act of love.

  • On August 2, 1942, she and her sister, Rosa, were taken by Nazis from the Carmel in Echt,

    Holland, and a week later they were gassed to death in the Birkenau section of Auschwitz.

  • Eyewitnesses who saw Edith during her last week of life all attest that she remained faithful,

    courageous, and impeccably charitable to all up to her last moments.

  • In a very dark and confusing time, St. Edith Stein shone like a bright ray of light. Quite

    selflessly, she offered her life for the sake of others. And as such, St. Edith Stein is a

    remarkable example of Christian heroism and charity in the face of astounding evil.

  • In some ways I wonder if we might be entering into another one of those very dark and

    confusing periods in human history when evil seems to have the upper hand in the world.

  • As we consider the terrible threat posed by ISIS, the fear of a worldwide outbreak of Ebola,

    and the ever-increasing moral confusion surrounding marriage and human sexuality that has

    ambushed our state, our country, and our culture, there is much to worry about.

  • I know, as well, that many of you have been following the confusing media reports coming

    from the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on issues related to

    marriage and evangelization that concluded yesterday.

  • There’s been much media speculation coming from the Synod that perhaps the Church is

    going to permit Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, as well as

    same-sex couples and those who cohabitate before marriage, to receive Holy Communion.

  • But let me state clearly and emphatically that, despite what you may have heard from the

    media this week, there has been no change in Church teaching on these issues.

  • Our doctrine is based upon the revelation of Jesus Christ, expressed in both Sacred Scripture

    and Tradition. While the Church may come to new and deeper insights about a particular

    teaching, the essence of a doctrinal teaching cannot change because truth does not change.

  • While the Church can change certain disciplines, we must also remember that Church

    disciplines are rooted in our doctrine. Therefore, a practice or discipline of the Church cannot be at odds with the Church’s doctrine. And any effort by a Church leader to knowingly distort, weaken, or change the Church’s doctrine is evil.

  • At the same time we must realize that there are a growing number of people in the Church who live in morally compromised arrangements. In other words, they are engaging in conjugal acts with someone who is not or cannot be their spouse in a sacramental marriage.
  • Setting aside appearances of judgmentalism and condemnation, the Church’s challenge is to really look at the way we engage with these folks so that we can call them to conversion and better help them conform their lives to Christ and His commandments.
  • The fact is that people will have a better chance of knowing God and finding salvation if they have a relationship with His Church, even if they cannot fully participate in the sacramental life of the Church.
  • So our challenge is to welcome these people into the Church without condoning their sin or compromising our teachings. Following the example of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery, we must be forthcoming with mercy while also exhorting people to sin no more.
  • The Church is a hospital for the spiritually sick. But to enter into this hospital, we must desire healing! It’s by being obedient and docile to the Church’s teachings that we find healing for our spiritual ills.
  • Sadly, not all who are invited to the Church will come. While open to all, those who enter the Church must be willing to convert and be docile to Her teachings, rather than arrogantly believing that they know better than Her and trying to force Her to change Her teachings.
  • Those who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge and adhere to the truth, and who try to force the Church to conform to this world with its mixed up morality, have no place in the Church.
  • If you are living in an irregular relationship right now by cohabitating before marriage, by being involved in a same-sex relationship, or by being divorced and remarried without an annulment, I want to say publicly that I’m glad that you’re here.
  • God loves you, the Church loves you, and I love you. Moreover, I am willing to do whatever is necessary to help you get to a place where you can fully take part in the sacramental life of the Church and live a Christian life with full integrity. But there must be some humility.
  • If you do not understand why the Church teaches as She does, come speak with me. My door is open to you – and so is my heart.
  • And I ask everyone else in this parish to be of like mind. While we cannot and must not respect sin, we can and must respect all people, and we must lovingly help others to hear the Gospel and live it in its fullness.
  • At her canonization Mass in 1998, St. John Paul II repeated Edith Stein’s famous quote: “Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth!”, to which he added: “One without the other becomes a destructive lie.”
  • As we do our best to proclaim the truth to our fallen world, let us be sure to do it with love.
  • As we consider the darkness in our world today, we must be – like Edith Stein – heroic rays

    of light that shine forth with the truth, goodness, and beauty of our Catholic faith.

  • Moreover, in this time of desperate confusion in our world and in our Church, let us place our hopes and trust in God Himself. Let us not forget that He is omnipotent and, as Isaiah

    says, He grasps us by the hand.

  • Trusting in Him, let us hold fast to the constant and unchanging teachings of His Church,

    confident that our obedience to those teachings will bring us to salvation.

  • Lastly, may we be willing to live lives of true charity by offering sacrifices and penances to

    God on behalf of those who attack and persecute this Church we love so much.

• May each of us cultivate within our hearts a true desire to suffer and lay down our lives for the Church so that all men may be saved. St. Edith Stein, pray for us.

 

© Reverend Timothy Reid, 10/19/2014

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