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May 012016
 

Are We Listening to the Holy Spirit-When we think of the Holy Spirit, we can sometimes have an amorphous understanding that does not give us a good grasp of who He is. Indeed, most Catholics were not brought up with good Catechesis on the Holy Spirit. If you imagine the presence of Christ, within you, you understand the Holy Spirit. Imagine further, the presence of Christ within this community and guiding the entire Church just as Christ guided his apostles, then again you have a good image.

The mission of the Holy Spirit is to help us to fulfill the will of the Father,  to go out into the whole world and make disciples of all nations. That means to make powerful followers of those around us as we all continue the mission of the Church which is the salvation of souls. We have an invitation to learn who we are as humans beings through the leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives and to teach others the same.

Never forget that the Catholic Church teaches that the same holy spirit who raised up the prophets from Abraham and Lot to Jeremiah and John the Baptist and more is the one who is calling upon you to be disciples. What is it that he calls you to do? To bear fruit in the world, just as the prophets did and just as the disciples did in the time of Jesus and the saints do throughout the history of the Church.

Hear this homily as it was delivered live at mass. 

That means bear fruit for the Kingdom of God; that means to lead others to salvation and to eternal life. We have a call to be prophets by the way we live our lives. It is a powerful call. God himself may do great things if we allow him to manifest himself through our lives just as he did in the lives of the prophets, the apostles, disciples and saints.

But too many do not understand that mission and they reject it. They choose to listen to other voices and those voices lead away from life and salvation. Are we listening and learning from the Holy Spirit or are we hearing another voice?

St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy warns that people in the last days will make a pretense of religion  but deny its power. Those are some words that we need to understand. Jesus taught the apostles that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, that they will receive power. What is this power? To be agents of the Lord that he uses for lofty purposes. To be channels of God’s grace that lead others to salvation.  

Again this does not, necessarily, mean standing on a street corner and thumping a Bible. It does mean simply going to church and living the faith during the week, it means teaching children the faith that they be powerful agents of the gospel. It means being an agent of God’s love when others are spewing hatred. It means praying for those whom others dismiss as being hopeless. It means rooting oneself in prayer and trusting in the power of that prayer. It means that one is an agent of God’s plan of salvation. It means trust in God when we pray to Him. It means daring to ask for miracles and knowing that there will be an answer of one type or another to our prayer. It means to know the works of the prophets and to build our own life upon them.

What does the opposite look like, when we deny its power, we consider religion nothing more than seeking to do what we think is the right thing in the world and being deaf to God’s vision in the same world.

When we do not bear fruit for the kingdom the result is not less fruit, it is the rise of the fruit of weeds that destroys those created in God’s image.

There are many that recognize the loss of faith in our world. A whole new vision of the human being is arising and it is a destructive vision. What is the cause of this vision the loss of faith in the world. When communities lose their prophetic nature then what happens is not the loss of faith, but the rise of those forces that seek to destroy humanity.

When our church loses it ability to embrace the holy spirit, the prophets become silent and destruction grows.

Each of us were called at Baptism and even Confirmation to embrace the voice of the Holy Spirit in our church and to live his teaching so that not only we could be saved but those around us could be saved as well.

It is important that we understand our prophetic call and  live it. We cannot be like the prophet who chose not to prophesy, there is too much as stake. What happens when the prophet is silent, the false prophet grows and what does he preach? It is what the Old Testament calls: Peace and security. He cries out “do not pay attention to the warning signs, do not heed warnings, just know there is no danger there is nothing ahead but peace and security.” The true prophet knows those are false hopes, that trouble does lie ahead and that we want to call people to prepare.

It is the Lord who shows us how to prepare and He leads us to heed the warning.  

Right now the Church is going through a difficult time, but there is another warning out there. You see the Lord always calls his people to faithfulness prior to the storm so that they will be prepared. Those who heed the words of the Holy Spirit know the storms are coming, those who listen to the false prophets are silently sunning themselves feeling that the dark clouds on  the horizon are not coming our way, they are.

Are we heeding the words of the Holy Spirit, are we people in prayer, are we seeking to be faithful to our calling as Catholics, do  we see the obvious signs of the storm clouds on the horizon or have we embraced a pretense of religion that has no power and will be like a Japanese paper wall in a hurricane. Are we listening and learning from the Holy Spirit or are we hearing another voice?

During the next two weeks, let us pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit anew on Pentecost in this parish and pray that we may become more true to our call to be prophetic community to all around us. That we may see the warning signs and call others to the safety and security of the Kingdom of God led by the Holy Spirit.

God bless you,

Fr. Robert J Carr

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MAand is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 

 Posted by at 01:01
Apr 242016
 

The Difficult Road to HeavenThe key to living the Catholic life is keeping your eye on the goal. The goal is obvious: the Kingdom of God, eternal life, the fulfillment of our destiny as those created by God, fully human and fully alive. One does not get there on a skateboard. It is not that we have to live on a prairie in the 1600’s to get to Heaven, which likewise would be a hard life; it is that at times the Christian life can be hard as it is.

Today, we hear Paul and Barnabas warn the new disciples that they would have to experience tribulations to enter the Kingdom of God and that is the point.

Hear this homily as it was delivered

We make a great error when we feel that our journey to the Heavenly Kingdom should be easy. Rather it can be a struggle filled with unavoidable difficulties, painful moments, times when we are tempted to despair and even worse. St. John Chrysostom reminded his parishioners that it is exactly at those moments, when we embrace the Gospel nevertheless that not only do we grow closer to Christ, we evangelize others to the kingdom through those moments.

He was speaking about those who were looking for signs and miracles as indicators of the presence of God The great saint explained that really true preaching of the gospel is not through such supernatural events as much as perseverance through trial. That speaks more loudly of the truth of Christ. It is in our most difficult times that we may be tempted to give up and despair, but we,  instead, embrace Christ, bring our pain to prayer and we grow stronger.

Fr. Roger Luis of Canção Nova in Brazil teaches that the most important thing we must do is to persevere at all times.

This can be difficult. There are trials, difficulties, stresses and, of course, demands on our time and we can focus on them more than on Christ.

St James admonishes us to consider it pure joy when that happens: “for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3-4 NABRE)

It his book on Acedia, Benedictine Abbot Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B. teaches that another reality is that we have a calling to live Christian joy. He explains that is to focus on Christ even in our most painful or darkest moments. He quotes a Carthusian Monk when he writes: “Sadness is looking at oneself; Joy is Looking to God.”

It is through our painful times when we focus on Christ, that we learn the deepest wisdom of God and, as the Bible says, clearly it is through suffering we learn obedience. When we are obedient to Christ we learn the wisdom of God to its highest level. In fact, if there is any temptation that the devil wants to give you, it is to run from trial and tribulation and to run from suffering at all costs. When we do that, we actually run from the very tools that Christ uses to lead us to Him.

The saints often reminded many of their hearers that just as Jesus had to suffer prior to enter into his glory, so too may we.

What do we do with suffering? We don’t just experience it, we bring it to Christ. We bring our sufferings into our prayer and we ask the Lord to help us with this suffering, but also we offer it up for the benefit of others including our loved ones,  family and those most in need of prayer. When we bring our suffering to the Lord, we can embrace it in a way that it helps us and others in their salvation.

The saints also taught that those who suffer in Christ also find consolation for their suffering from Christ Himself. It is in our deepest pain that we can say: “Lord may your will be done,” and we see a whole different side of that same suffering. It may not go away, but there may come a time where we do not rejoice in the pain but rather in the conquests that God uses through this pain for our salvation and that of others.

But there is more any time we embrace the gospel over drowning our sorrows or pain, we grow in Christ and we grow closer to salvation. You may be suffering from many trials that may tempt you to leave the faith, other loved ones may have already done so, but do not despair. Your darkest moments will bring you to the brightest light in Christ.

It does not matter what it is, whether it is a loss of a job, an illness, a divorce, a severe trauma, even a long term trauma, the tragedy of the loss of a child. Our tribulations will lead us closer to Christ if we just bring Christ our pain and ask him to help us persevere.

St. Rose of Lima taught if we knew how much our pains led us to Christ we would ask for more of them. For she knew the truth. We will have to suffer many tribulations to enter the Kingdom of God. They are after all a gold ticket to the glory of the Kingdom.

This whole take on trial and tribulation is not only the key to Heaven, it is at the very bottom of good and evil. The irony is that we must suffer to enter into Heaven in which there will be no more suffering as our second reading teaches, however, if we reject Christ and run from suffering, then our destiny is the exact opposite, eternal suffering separated from Christ and His Kingdom.

This simple reality, the Catechism teaches, is at the base of the battle for our final salvation. What is it that the atheistic forces are seeking to create in our world? It can be summed up in the word “Imagine”: John Lennon’s song which is really nothing more than Karl Marx’s vision. What is all this called? Utopianism. The belief that we do not need God and that we can build a perfect world without Him.

The Catechism teaches: Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. (CCC 675)

In other words, there will come a form of political philosophy that will promise freedom from all suffering and the exaltation of humanity in exchange for rejecting Christ and the entire hope of eternal life He offers us. (Sound familiar by the way)

Saints Paul and Barnabas speak a powerful truth. When we embrace the unavoidable tribulation that comes our way and bring it to Christ, we will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When we run from it and seek only our own exaltation we will be denied that prize. Sin leads us away from the Kingdom by promising us, falsely, freedom from suffering; Christ leads us to the Kingdom by following Him after we pick up our cross and carry it until such time as we lay it down in the Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

God bless you,

Fr. Robert J Carr

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MAand is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

Bibliography:

Nault, Jean-Charles, O.S.B.The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times (San Francisco; 2015; Ignatius Press [Kindle version])

John Chrysostom. (1889). Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Acts of the Apostles. In P. Schaff (Ed.), J. Walker, J. Sheppard, H. Browne, & G. B. Stevens (Trans.), Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 11, p. 230). New York: Christian Literature Company.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed., pp. 176–177). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

 Posted by at 01:01
Apr 102016
 

An audio version of this homily is located in the upper right of this blog:
WhomFollowThere is a powerful and scary message in today’s first reading that is a warning to us today, especially during the election year.

 

Let’s look at the elements: The Sanhedrin, which was the governing body of the Jews in Jerusalem imprisoned the Apostles who then escaped and now the Jewish authorities caught them preaching again. They leaders have the disciples of Jesus disciples flogged for not obeying them. They demand that Peter and the others refrain from preaching about Jesus. The apostles refuse, for they cannot refrain. They witnessed Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. They became filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, for them to obey the Sanhedrin, they would have to deny any of this happened. It would be like if I said I never went to school. I could never say that, because in fact I did.

 

The Apostles also make a powerful statement that indicts their persecutors. Peter speaking for them all says they must obey God, not men. Clearly, they are throwing gas on the fire, for they are making clear that these leaders of the Jews are no longer directed by God. They are saying that they no longer recognize their authority and will not obey it. It is no wonder the Sanhedrin wants them dead.

 

Notice something else: when the apostles suffer imprisonment and flogging at the hands of the Sanhedrin. They patiently endure this and then rejoice that they were found worthy of suffering for Christ. At no point, do they start a violent counter-revolution.They do they call for a war against the Sanhedrin or those Jews who stand with them. Remember, this is taking place in the Middle East of all places. They peacefully endure their wounds and imprisonment knowing that this leads to Heaven. The Sanhedrin must have been beside themselves in wondering what all this craziness meant.

 

The apostles understand a deeper wisdom, that If we do not embrace the promises of Christ, we will become imprisoned in the tyranny of evil.

 

What the Apostles are actually doing is to witness to the reality of Christ and to evangelize, through their hardship, of the reason for their hope.

 

But there is a deeper meaning that reveals the most important part of their message and the urgency of you embracing it and living it. Notice, I said urgency.

 

The Apostles are testifying not only of Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit, they are also testifying that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. They are testifying to a definition of who we are as human beings, what we are about and the reality of the Kingdom of God. Their pacific reaction to their imprisonment and torture is testimony that there is nothing worth fighting for on the Earth in comparison to sacrifices which gain the promises of Christ.

 

That witness has been placed in our hands to carry on. This is why attending mass is an important act as we come to our God and enjoy Communion with Him before we return to the world. We are testifying to a reality in contrast to the world. We too stand before the  world and say, we must obey God and not men and women. We seek the promises of Christ and they can only be found by being obedient to Him. If we are obedient to Earthly authority alone, then we merit those promises which are actually empty at best. The greatest joy the world has to offer is tiny compared to the slightest joy that Christ promises us. Even if one is in mortal sin and cannot receive communion at this time, not receiving communion in this case, is a powerful witness of the awesomeness of Christ’s resurrection and all the promises it signifies. I welcome that person in confession by the way.

 

Now the obvious question: what happens when we do listen to men and women and not God. It is not good. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation released this week warns against ideological colonialism, in which powers that reject Christ suppress our faith for their atheistic beliefs.

 

St Pope John Paul II in the encyclical Centesimus Annus warns that hen we reject God and embrace the world, then we also embrace what becomes the totalitarian state.

 

If you want to be truly free, embrace and live the gospel. If you want to follow those who reject the gospel as old fashioned, you will embrace their image of your existence and your existence will be led by how much it benefits their goals.

 

The Lord calls us to build a just society and you cannot build a society more just, than one which seeks to obey the source of justice. When we reject that source for another definition of justice, we will fall prey to it. If we do not embrace the promises of Christ, we will become imprisoned in the tyranny of men.

 

Remember community organizers learn to use the teachings of Saul Alinsky to get what they want. Saul Alinsky praises the devil; how can you build a just society embracing the ways of the embodiment of evil? It makes no logical sense, but those who reject Christ do exactly that at your expense and they learn this in a local graduate school.

 

That is what happens in our world and our country today. Those who reject Christ want to build a society where they define for you your meaning and value in this world. This is what St. Pope John Paul II warned is what happens when we reject Christ and embrace the world. It is what happens when we choose to obey men and women rather than God.

 

We take away a divine standard of our existence and embrace the standard promoted by atheist  politicians and corporations. Why would we do that? Because they promise us prosperity and we believe them.

 

Christ calls us to believe in His gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of God and the more we embrace His promises the we more realize they are true. Decide that the intelligensia who has rejected Christ are the ones you  will listen to and you will find them promising you a prosperity that comes with gold covered handcuffs. It is a prosperity that is gained through exploiting those who stand in the way of their desire of prosperity that they promise you so that you will give it to them, pure manipulation.

 

Remember what we discovered last summer, that there is an industry based on distributing the organs of unborn children to laboratories for experimentation. There is a move on to keep this quiet and now the government is involved in silencing the uncovering of this work. No one has ever denied that this happens; they only deny that abortion clinics profit off it. Is it not really a form of totalitarianism to proclaim that children will be denied birth AND then their bodies will be used for scientific experimentation?

 

At a Catholic University recently on the Solemnity of the Annunciation a nationally known advocate for abortion promoted it further and again used the promises of prosperity as the prevailing motive. As one person said, on the day Mary said yes to God, a Catholic university is calling people to say “no”, to God. If you say no to God, you say yes to totalitarianism.

Everyday is the day to decide whom you will choose to obey. Will you obey men and women for the sake of gaining prosperity, or will you obey God for the sake of gaining eternal life. That questions confronts us daily. Which do you choose? If you choose God, you not only are on your way to eternal life, and leading others there as well, you are also saying no to supporting a totalitarian state and the forced loss of all your freedoms. If we do not embrace the promises of Christ, we will become imprisoned in the tyranny of men.

 God bless you,

Fr. Robert J Carr

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MAand is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 

 Posted by at 06:43
Mar 272016
 

The audio of this message, recorded at mass, is available above, right.
TheMessageBImagine this scenario. A major event is about to happen in your life. Maybe it is a wedding. You have planned the event to the most minute detail. You pick the DJ, the songs he will play. You choose the Church, the bridesmaids and ushers, best man and maid of honor, flower girl, ring bearer, cantor, organist, music, readings, etc. You rehearse the wedding, placing the flower girl, bridesmaids, ushers and everyone else in place. Every detail is planned out and you are happy as you see each and everyone of your plans happen as expected.

 

Today, we celebrate the most important event in the history of humanity. Jesus’ resurrection. When He dies, he redeems us from our sins, when He rises he brings us into eternal life. It is the most important event in our eternal lives for without this event, we have no hope as human beings and I believe, the world would have collapsed a long time ago.

 

If this event is so important and you can imagine God ensures that every last detail is important. We learn that the Holy Spirit guides every event and we learn that Jesus Himself tells us that the Heavenly Father cares for us as He does for all of nature. We see an interesting mystery. Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene and the women with her. However, when they run to tell the apostles, they are dismissed as, well, women. All of this had to be part of Jesus’ plan. There is an important reason why?

 

We need to look at this more deeply.

 

The women are the first to proclaim to the men that Jesus raised from the dead. We know that they are part of Jesus’ group of many disciples. They are not apostles, but they are disciples. What is happening here? It is a call to end the idea that the role of disciples is limited to a few.

 

Sin comes into the world through the devil tempting a woman and it is completed though the fall of the man. If Adam did not fall, we would not need a savior, but neither would we if Eve had not first said Yes to the devil.  

 

The Virgin Mary is approached by an angel, the reverse of the devil, and, through her, salvation comes into the world. If Jesus did not die on the cross we would not have been saved, but neither would we if Mary said “No”.

 

Now Jesus’ resurrection is announced by a woman who was so sinful seven devils had been cast out of her. She becomes so devoted that she leads a contingent of woman to embalm the body, which in this culture means to use spices to care for the body, not actually embalm it as we would imagine in  our time. Because they have to wait for the completion of the Sabbath at that time, they are devoted in a way that they are willing to risk the now horrible stench to care for the body.

 

It is to this once terribly sinful woman that the message of Jesus’ resurrection is first entrusted. The message is given to her as witness to bring everyone from unable to believe to belief. She becomes like the Samaritan woman, who did the same,  but through her all came to believe. Peter runs to confirm the truth, he, unlike the others is not ready to dismiss the women’s message. He comes to believe and now we understand that Jesus’ resurrection has happened and the world has been changed. He as the first pope lives God’s message, the message of the Gospel is entrusted to all the baptized; never assume that only the ordained have all the answers.

 

Jesus’ resurrection is the most powerful message and event in the history of the world and it is entrusted to those who recognize their need to know it, embrace it and live it. There are many, like the pharisees who could care less, whose hearts are hardened and are unable to hear the message. There are others who are the ones who recognize their desire and hope for more than this world can offer. They hear the message, embrace it and spread it. Their descendants, men and women are us.  

 

That same message has been entrusted to you. Many are going to dismiss you just as the pharisees dismissed the disciples of Jesus; maybe because you do not have a theology degree, or you are not good at public speaking. Maybe you are too young, or old, or did not graduate from high school or college or even, you are a woman. Maybe you have done time in prison, or suffer a horrible disease caused by your past sins. However, by your baptism,God entrusts you with the message of Jesus’ resurrection, our promise of eternal life and the truth of Church that Jesus founded. You have a choice to live it like Mary Magdalene, regardless of your history, or reject it like the pharisees as do so many in our world today, including baptized Catholics. The choice is yours, either embrace Christ or embrace the worldly powers that pretend to have all the answers, which they do not. In either case, you can, like Mary Magdalene, embody a thousand reasons why you should not be a bearer of God’s message, but it does not matter. Like Mary Magdalene, the message was entrusted to you.

 

This week was an interesting one for all the northern hemisphere of Europe and North America. People live in fear, terrorism raises its ugly head again, perpetrated not by disciples of Abraham but by pagans who pretend to be disciples of Abraham. The world has no idea where to turn and with each act our humanity is diminished more and more in the name of safety from terrorism. Meanwhile, those who embrace Christ are also victims of these terrorists, but they live and some die in the powerful hope of eternal life. The world has no solution but tyranny to fight tyranny. The Church has but one solution, the resurrection of Christ to bring the true element of hope and personal change to the hearts of all who believe.

 

The experts do not have an answer to this but more security. The lowly, the dismissed, the ones who realize that Christ is the answer, who are rejected by the movers and shakers of the world and who are threatened by the pagan terrorists have the hope of eternal life promised to them at their baptism, regardless of their status in life, or their history. They have done only one thing: changed their lives, given their lives completely over to the risen Lord through His church and allowed themselves to be transformed by the one who promises what no one else can promise: eternal life.

 

Do you understand what has been entrusted to you? Are you going to live it? Or are you going to take it for granted and put your hope in the teachings of those who have nothing to offer you but the world around you—good or bad—and your current place in it.

 

The choice is yours now and everyday. Which world do you choose?

 

I am reminded of the martyr saint who was to be hanged and something went wrong with the gallows. They took him down from the gallows before the process and once the problem was fixed they had to bring him back up. He ran, not from the gallows but to it. He said, if you saw what I saw that awaits me when I was first on the gallows, you would run up here too. He died a martyr. He shows us of a hope that can only be found in Christ that is beyond our imagination.

 

The worlds offers little. God entrusted you with the task to share the truth and Mary Magdalene shows you how. Will you?

A Blessed Easter,

Fr. Robert J Carr

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MAand is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 Posted by at 01:01
Jul 192015
 

Time to Wake UpThere is an ancient tradition in the Church that reminds the shepherds that they better take their job seriously. You know theLatin word shepherd is where we get the word Pastor and yes, bishops and priests are called to be good shepherds. St John Chrysostom who became a powerful bishop was terrified of the responsibility and never wanted to be even a priest for that reason, but he became both a powerful priest and bishop. He later said that when shepherds took their roles lightly it had terrible effects on the flock, hence his famous words “The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
However, bishops and priests are not the only shepherds. At your baptism, you entered Christ’s ministry of Priest, Prophet and King each and everyone of you is part of what is  known as the priesthood of the laity. It is different from the priesthood of the ordained. However, it is a special role where you have a call to be a source of Jesus’ light in the world around you.
We can all often take that responsibility for granted and even misunderstand the role of priesthood of the laity and priesthood of the ordained. What is worse is when we misunderstand it and feel that it is no longer necessary. Then our ministry of shepherding others as priests or parents or neighbors or leaders or politicians or public servants, etc becomes weak. Normally that would not be a problem if there was no God and all that we believe was just silliness. However, everyday I live, I come to understand that fortunately everything we believe is true and unfortunately, everything we believe is true.
You see the ancient teachings of the saints were that without God, we are left to our own devices and our inclination to sin turns utopia into disaster, every time. We are incapable on our own of building a society without God, because when we do, we create a world where the powerful exploit the powerless, making the powerful more powerful and the powerless more powerless until there is a radical change and society collapses only to start again.
Pope Paul VI explained that  the reason why this happens is because what we believe is true, including there is a personal reality of evil that seeks to undermine and destroy everything. He also  explains that this is why we know such a reality exists, whom we call the devil. If the atheists were right, we could build a perfect society. Yet every time people walk down that path, something undermines it which does not fit into the equation and he explains that is the evidence of the reality of his existence.
In the TV and Movie series Star Trek, the Utopian society is achieved. In fact, money does not even exist in that world, everyone works for the good of the other. That is fiction, in the real world the perfect utopian society falls apart due to some human embrace of sin. Star Trek is no where near as realistic as is Jurassic Park, built on that principle that I just explained.
When the shepherd is weak, that evil reality becomes strong, until only through a divine intervention is the evil put to rest. That is demonstrated many times in the bible, the most famous is when Aaron helps the people build a golden calf in the absence of Moses. That is also what Sodom and Gomorrah is all about. There were no shepherds in that village anymore and no righteous people. There were just people corrupted by evil and that evil was growing exponentially. Ten righteous people could have changed their fate. There were none but Lot.
That is why we all must take seriously our role as shepherd, me as pastor and you as participants in the ministry of Christ as indicated by your baptismal promises. Do you want proof?
You probably saw in the news this week that an abortion provider was accused of selling the organs of unborn babies. It was even explained that the unborn baby had to be handled to ensure the organs were not damaged in the abortion so that they could be used by those who pay to receive them.
The provider denied nothing in that edited interview except that they sold such organs, they explain that they donate them. The recipient research agency need only pay for shipping and handling. They admitted freely being in the work of supplying organs of unborn children aborted in their franchised facilities for scientific research.  This is funded by grants which fund the institutions themselves some of which have been diligently working to silence us because we reject the whole enterprise.
It has long been suspected that there is a market in the research and commercial worlds for parts of aborted children. Now the news has come out and the abortion provider admits it, although it does not admit there is any selling going on, just paying for shipping and handling. That makes aborted children as potentially marketable a commodity as rice and beans. Congress wants hearings.
This is the kind of evil that happens when the shepherd is asleep and we are the shepherds. Remember that is not the world that you grew up in, but it is the world that is shepherding your children and grandchildren as long as the shepherd remains asleep.
We can no longer afford to be asleep. we need to wake up: everyone of us, and be the Church Christ calls us to be. For when we are asleep, the road to hell becomes paved and lighted with fancy billboards and pretty trees and bushes that hide its true evil.
It is time for the shepherd to wake up.
Go home and pray, commit to daily prayer, consider also the rosary and bible study, continue therefore in 1 and 2 Peter this month and be strong in your Catholic faith as you lead others through those doors.
I cannot emphasize enough the need to be part of our parish novena on weeknights starting on August 6-14. We truly need to be awake, sober and alert Words you will find in the fifth chapter of the First Letter of Peter.
God Bless You,
Fr. Robert J Carr
Fr. Carr is an alliance member of the New Song Community (Canção Nova). He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube. He also has a regular radio program on WebRadio Canção Nova. Which he podcasts on Mixcloud and here on Catholicismanew.
You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google Plus as +Fr. Robert Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook
 Posted by at 01:01
Jul 122015
 
I wonder if we as Catholics sell ourselves short. For example when people describe themselves as being on a bus to Heaven with the priests and religious driving. The thought is that we live moral lives to earn our right to stay on the bus.
That is just bad teaching. It is completely wrong. For it implies that we live a sedentary existence waiting to be saved when the bus arrives at the big depot in the sky.
This is not who we are. We are not passengers on a bus to Heaven. We actually have an active role that God gives to us in His plan for salvation. God literally calls us to be agents for His plan of salvation to the whole world. Where does it say this? In many places, but not the least of which is the second reading.
Participating in God's PlansIf you look carefully at the second reading, you will see about the middle of the passage, that God has shared with us his plan of salvation. He has not shared with us just the admission ticket to salvation, but his plan of salvation. Understand what that means. It is not that we are waiting for the calvary to come over the hill to rescue us and bring us to freedom.When someone shares with you His plan, He is sharing it with you in front of a map, with his description of what resources he has where and what plans He is working through to bring his plans forward. If you were talking to a general, you would be in the war room, if you were talking to a CEO you would be in the board room. In either case, you are not riding a bus or waiting for God’s armies to rescue you, you are active agents in his plan of salvation. You are the calvary. You are the army.
As one priest explained to me about a year after I returned to the Church, we literally have, by God’s design, the call to see behind the curtain a bit. God calls us by our baptism and confirmation and our weekly participation in the Eucharist to be agents of His work infused with his wisdom to assist in  bringing forth his plan. Understand what that means, we are not like those as I said in the valley waiting for the Lord to bring his army over the mountains, we are like those standing on the mountains looking over the valley and planning how to assist in  bringing about God’s plan of salvation.
There is a big lie that many people fall for, that we are the stupid savages who still believe in God and are not like the advanced people who gave up belief in God a long time ago in exaltation of the human.That is the lie. In fact, in some local universities if you believe in God you are refused the position of department head and, I have heard that in some cases you may be refused tenure. They are wrong because you are not naive ones, you are the wise ones and the wisdom that we have comes from our relationship with God himself. This is why we have the sacraments, to strengthen us in our ability to carry out God’s plan because we will engage in much resistance.
Toward the end of this letter, Paul speaks about spiritual warfare. He explains that we are in a battle against spiritual forces that seek the destruction of God’s creation in humanity. God gives us the tools to fight in this warfare and is with us all the way.
If you look at the Gospel you can see an example of how this works. As the apostles were sent out to heal and cast out demons, so we are sent out to bring the message of the Gospel to the world, to heal people of the self-centered ignorance and testify to the powerful truths that are beyond the grasp of those who reject God. Many of whom are unwittingly being made prey of by those spiritual forces cited earlier. Our mission as people of faith seems so benign, but it is not, it is a mission to bring forth God’s plan of salvation just as strong as Ike’s plans for the liberation of Europe in the 1940’s. We use the tools of daily prayer, of communal prayer at mass, of the quest for holiness of regular confession and reception of the Eucharist.
So how do we do this? When  we are infused with God’s wisdom and put it into practice, we become agents teaching that truth to others. That is the reason why we live the morality we do, it is not to earn our way to heaven, but as a tool of God’s wisdom put into practice. This is why our morality cannot change with the times. The morality itself is the tool of teaching God’s wisdom. Therefore, our morality is not the ticket for us to stay on the bus, it is the tool we used to promote the wisdom of God.
Let us look at it in light of the Gospel teaching. Christ sends the apostles out to heal and cast out demons. Now in theory we can do this and that is part of our Catholic tradition and calling. This is what we call miracles, but miracles are not everyday issues otherwise we would not call them miracles. By shoring up our morality we are strong enough to lead others to the healing way of life that leads us and them to the fullness of life. So, we teach our Catholic way of life and its morality to the youth that they may be sources of life to the youth. That is why it is such a gravely sinful act to not take that role seriously. It is essential to teach youth their faith and how it is built up by prayer so that they can be agents of God’s powerful healing and enlightening presence. This is our role as a community to teach it to ourselves and to others.
This is why we need the sacrament of confession, to help strengthen our ability to serve God. Confession is not the ticket that keeps us on the bus, it is the shop where we learn how to strengthen our mission of serving God.
This is what also needs to be taught to our youth as well.
One of the reasons we have a drug problem in Massachusetts is that we have failed in our ability to teach about sin and the sacrament of healing called the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When was the last time you heard it taught that drug abuse was a sin?  A grave sin that needs to be confessed in the sacrament of confession. I do teach it here by the way. Yet, it indeed is and we need to teach it. Why? By teaching it and leading others to understand that truth we become agents of healing just as the Apostles did as well.
This is all part of our role as participants in God’s plan of salvation given to us at Baptism and Confirmation and fortified at the Eucharist. When you come to receive the Eucharist keep that in mind as you get out of the pew and walk down the aisles to receive.
We are not on any bus, we are standing on the hill, overlooking the hand and living as the army to liberate all from the forces that imprison them. Our flag is Christ.
God Bless You,
Fr. Robert J Carr
Fr. Carr is an alliance member of the New Song Community (Canção Nova). He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube. He also has a regular radio program on WebRadio Canção Nova. Which he podcasts on Mixcloud and here on Catholicismanew.
You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google Plus as +Fr. Robert Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 

 Posted by at 01:01
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