October 2, 2018
Dear Family of Mary!
Let me share with you the homily of October 1, 2018 at English Mass in Medjugorje. It is awesome!!
English Mass Homily – October 1, 2018- Medjugorje:
For the past sixty years or more the Catholic Church has been suffering from a massive inferiority complex. We have looked at the modern secular liberal world, and it looks so bright and shiny, so in touch and so cool, and then we look at the Catholic Church and it looks so old and shabby and out of touch. And as a result of that we have lost confidence in the Church. We have lost confidence in the Gospel that we preach. We ave lost confidence in the salvation we proclaim we have lost confidence in the hope we offering to the world. How this massive inferiority complex, this loss of confidence has come about is a story for another day.
For today I just want to look at a few symptoms of this dreadful loss of confidence. And the first thing we always look at is the teaching of the Church. There has been a huge neglect and even a perversion of the teaching of the Church. The Church is founded on the teaching of Christ, on the Revelation of Christ, and if we pervert that then we pervert the whole Church and its mission. And yet that has happened over and over again. We have diverted the teaching of the Church, we have watered it down. And if we have watered down the teaching of the Church then it is no longer the Teaching of the Church. It is a fake gospel.
There are various ways of watering down the Church’s teaching. We can focus on the nice pieces. And neglect the difficult parts, the tough parts. The parts that say we must keep the Ten Commandments. The parts that say “Pick up your cross and follow me.” The parts that say that every one of us faces judgment when we die. The parts that say we are called to eternal salvation but we can also reject that call. We want to make people feel good. And so we focus on the nice parts.
But there are some who go even farther. There are some who even twist the teaching of the Church. Who proclaim their own opinions rather than the teaching of the Church. Bishops and priests who do that are not just bad shepherds, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. It is the Gospel as it is given to us by Christ and as it is handed on in the teaching of the Church that will save us. Nothing else. But because we want to be like the world and liked by the world then we turn away from that teaching.
We look at vast numbers of people who have given up the practice of the Catholic faith. Many of them in our own families. How could people who really believe in the Gospel, who really believe that the Gospel is good news, how could they give up the practice of the faith? How could they fail to hand it on to their children?
I hear people say, “Oh the young people today, they don’t go to Mass and they don’t practice the faith, but they are really good people.” If they are not going to Mass, if they are not worshiping God, if they are not handing down the faith to their children, then they are not good people. How can people not hand down the faith to their own little children?
So this is a massive loss of faith. And what has the response of the Church been? A shrug. This is the age of the shrug. What can we do about it? Where is the strategy for going after the lost sheep? And even if they don’t want to be found, we still have to go after them. And each one of us is called to be a shepherd.
Another symptom of our loss of confidence is the neglect of the mission of the Church. There are billions of people in this world who have never even heard of Christ. So why isn’t the Church on fire to bring the Gospel to them? Why are we saying that it doesn’t matter? It does matter. Salvation matters. We have to become a missionary church once again.
So many of our missionaries ended up talking about development, about justice and peace, about the environment, about the creation, whatever, and those things are good. But ultimately it is salvation that matters. It is getting to heaven that matters. It is proclaiming Jesus Christ, risen from the dead that matters.
We talk about a great shortage of priests in the Church at the present time. Is it any wonder there is a shortage of priests. Why would any young fellow want to join an outfit that doesn’t even believe in itself. Or doesn’t believe in it’s own mission. If we want to have vocations then we need to regain confidence in what we are about, and then the issue of vocations will take care of itself.
So many of our Catholic institutions are no longer Catholic. They are Catholic in name only. So Many of our Catholic schools are Catholic in name only. So many of the Catholic Schools are not handing down the faith to the children. They are betraying the parents who send their children for a Catholic education. So many of our Catholic organizations have become “do good” organizations. They have lost the sense of their mission. So many of our Catholic hospitals are no longer Catholic. In Ireland a number of Catholic Hospitals have said that they will kill unborn babies. What kind of a Catholic Hospital is that?? That would cave in so easily to such a dreadful evil.
Each one of us is called to be a missionary. We are called to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world. Beginning in our own families. In recent times we have used the word “evangelization” a lot. We talk about “new evangelization” , “re-evangelization”, and so on. Well that’s fine. But I think we need to get back to the word “mission.” The mission of the Church. That the whole church has a mission. That the Catholic family has a mission. The Catholic schools have a mission. They don’t just have an ethos, they have a mission. The Catholic hospitals and Catholic voluntary organizations all have a mission. We are called to be missionaries.
We celebrate today the memorial of Saint Therese of Lisieux. This wee, sick nun who was enclosed her whole life – the Church makes her the patron saint of the missions. What She is doing there is telling all of us that each and every one of us is called to be a missionary. None of us is excused from that.
There are many other symptoms of this loss of faith. The question is where do we go from here. The first thing is that it is holiness that renews the Church. Changing structures, setting up pastoral councils, changing the curia, all of that is useless in the long run if we have not got saints. It is holiness, it is the life of the risen Christ that reforms and renews the Church. So each one of us is called to be a saint.
Each one of us is called to think like a Catholic. We can’t live in this poisonous environment without being affected by it, and so we need to decontaminate our own mind. To get back to thinking like a Catholic in everything. To living like a Catholic in everything. We don’t need to be impressed by the modern, secular world. It is a poisonous ideology. Secularism. It is an ideology of destruction. It is an anti-life ideology. It is an ideology of hopelessness. And ultimately it is a mad ideology. An irrational ideology. Why would we be impressed by that? We have been given the Gospel to proclaim to the whole world.
Each one of us need to realize we have been called to be missionaries. We need to get back to being faithful to the teaching of the Church, to proclaiming the teaching of the Faith, the Teaching of the Gospel.
There is a philosopher, one of the greatest philosophers of the last three or four hundred years. A guy named Alystair McIntyre. He is an elderly man now. McIntyre was born in Scotland. He grew up as a Presbyterian. And then throughout his life he went through all kinds of changes. He was a Marxist for a while. And eventually he became a Catholic. And someone asked him on one occasion, “Are you a Catholic in the traditional, orthodox sense?” And he said, “That is the only sense.” In other words, we are either traditional, orthodox Catholics or we are not Catholics, whatever else we may be.
We have to get our own hearts and minds centered on Christ. We come to Medjugorje and we meet each other. And we say, “Oh, is this your first time here?” “Oh no, how many times have you been here, five, fifteen, twenty five, whatever.” And that’s grand. no problem at all with that. But then we have to go beyond that, and ask people, “Has Medjugorje made you a missionary?” “Have the messages of Our Lady made you a missionary?” “Have the homilies at Mass here made you a missionary?” “Have the visits to apparition Hill, the Blue Cross, and Cross Mountain made you a missionary?” And if they have, then praise God. But if they have not, then we have still not gotten the message of Medjugorje.
Tomorrow will be the message!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!