Homily Ė Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C)
At the heart of every struggle, conflict or fight is a question of power, control, and will. Whose will should be done? This is true of the conflict between the two year old that throws the tantrum with a parent. It is true of the Adolescent that rebels against the parent. It is true of disagreements between spouses. It is true of disagreements in towns. It is true of wars between nations. Most importantly, it is true of our relationship with God when we choose to use our free will to disobey him. True peace, the peace Christ speaks of in the Gospel today, can only come from God. It comes from our free consent to submit our will to Godís and allow him to be King of our lives.
At the heart of all the pain and suffering in the world is rebellion against God. It was true from the moment God created Angels and a third rebelled against God and fell into hell. It was true from the very first days when God created Man and Adam and Eve rebelled against his authority and chose to disobey him. It was true when we killed Christ, the word made flesh, who came to dwell among us. It is true today every time we choose to sin and go against Godís law revealed to us in the scriptures, written on our hearts, and revealed through the Church he established to teach us. If we choose anything other than submission to God, the Kingship and Lordship of Jesus Christ; if we choose an individualism so radical that we separate ourselves from the will of our creator then we choose war, we choose pain, we choose rebellion.
Many people are confused about the choices they make. Some because they havenít been taught properly, some because they refuse to believe something because it contradicts what they want. One major trick the Devil uses is to cause us to deceive ourselves. He does this by convincing people that they Love God and God loves them so they can do anything they want and there will be no consequences to their choices. If they love God and he loves them then they wonít go to hell. The Devil tells us just enough truth to hook us with the lie. The truth is God loves them and wants them to go to heaven. The truth is those who love God will. The lie is the fact that you can do anything you want and still think you are loving God. Jesus clearly contradicts this in the Gospel today. He says ďWhoever loves me will keep my word.Ē The logical conclusion is that if you donít try your best to keep his word then you donít really love him. Love isnít an emotion. It isnít a feeling. It isnít something we have because we want to think we do. Love is an act of the will. It is to will the Good of the other. To Love God is to will his own divine Goodness. It is to will his will. To Love God is to submit to his will as completely as possible, to will what he wills.
The Devil is smarter than any of us and he attempts to deceive us here as well. The Devil can deceive us into thinking we really love God. He often times will convince people that they ďare doing the best they canĒ. For many this is an excuse to let them off the hook. It is an excuse people make to excuse themselves from responsibility and discipline. We know this well for we have seen it many times. People can deceive themselves. How many of us know people who are deceived. Parents how many of you have seen your kids deceive themselves to avoid responsibility and discipline. Sometimes it is easier to fool ourselves than it is to fool others. Satan deceives us, we deceive ourselves, but God is never deceived. Nothing can be hidden from him. He will never accept a lie.
This is why it is so dangerous for our souls to ever second guess scripture, natural law or the teachings of the Church. Indeed in our Gospel Christ promised the Holy Spirit to teach us all things but he only guaranteed to preserve the Church from error when he promised to Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. If we choose our own authority then we have been deceived. No matter how much we feel we are right it doesnít make it true. The Devil is smarter than us. He deceives us. We deceive ourselves. God isnít deceived.
The best protection we have is the virtue of humility. It is exemplified by the Virgin Mary at the annunciation when she said ďLet it be done unto me according to thy word.Ē Christ in the Garden suffers at the thought of the torture he needs to endure for our salvation. He asks ďIf this cup can pass from me then let it but not my will but your will be done.Ē We pray for it in the Our Father when we ask ďThy kingdom come, thy will be done.Ē Every time we go to confession we humble ourselves and confess to God, to ourselves and to our fellow man that we are sinners. Why do the great saintís go to confession frequently? Mother Teresa went daily, John Paul II is said to go daily. They go, because they know, they need to be constantly reminded that rebellion even in the smallest of things is rebellion. They do not want to rebel. They do not want to risk deceiving themselves or being deceived by the devil. They frequently confess their faults to stay humble and they submit themselves freely and completely and to the Kingship of Jesus Christ. That is why the experience the greatest peace and joy of people on our planet. Christís words are fulfilled.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, then these things will be added unto you. Whoever loves me, keeps my word. If you say you love me and do not keep my commands you are a liar. If you remain in me then you will bear great fruit.
We get it backwards and put the cart before the horse. We tell God if you bless me then I will do such and such. If you give me this then I will do that. Who is the King? Who sets the conditions? Who has the power?
You will hear me speaking more about the Kingship of Christ. We will be bringing back the first Friday devotions to the Sacred Heart. We will have holy hours of reparation for our sins. We will have opportunities to humble ourselves and establish Jesus as the king of our lives. We will be offering the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in our family homes so that each family can formally proclaim the Kingship of Christ in their homes. Why? Because I believe every word in scripture and ever teaching taught by God through His Catholic Church that he established and preserves. I believe with all my heart that if we make Christ the king of your lives, if we give up rebellion against God, if we forsake the slavery of sin then we will experience the fruit, joy and peace of Christ. If we do not, then we will not and our inheritance will be pain, suffering and misery. We will reap what we sow.
We each have a choice to make. Whose will is going to Master or lives. We can choose to be our own Masters or we can choose to submit that will to Christ and make him the King of our lives. As for me and my house, I choose the answer of the Blessed Virgin, model of humility and that of Christ in the Garden. I freely choose to submit my will to Gods. As for you and your house I canít make that decision for you. The choice is yours. Choose well.