Choosing the life that will best lead us to His Heavenly Kingdom.
Once again, I extend my prayerful wishes for a very Blessed New Year for you, all your family and loved ones. Already six days into this New year, we celebrate today The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. In our celebration, we once again hear the familiar story of the Magi, who helped to make known God’s presence in the world, in a particular way. We heard, in our Holy Mass readings, in the final weeks of Advent, that Jesus, the Son of God, accepted the Will of the Father, as did the young virgin, Mary. She accepted the Father’s Will, that the Word would become flesh, dwell among us, educate us, and ultimately redeem us by His Sacrificial Death on the Cross.
We hear that terminology, “God’s Will”, all throughout Scripture and all throughout the catechesis we have received in learning our Catholic faith. Without hearing any voice from heaven revealing His particular Will as regards our lives, we can, and should, still begin each day with a prayerful petition to help us know His Will. Most of what God desires of us, was revealed and taught by Jesus during his 33 years here on earth. And what He taught, has been captured in the writings and the oral traditions that have been passed down to us by the Church He instituted. That takes most of the mystery out of discerning His Will for our actions, our interactions with others, and our behaviors. Yes, there will be decisions and choices to be made, regarding the paths we take. Married, single, or consecrated religious life…for example…are all good choices. So, we do need to pray to God to aid us in discerning His Will in choosing the life that will best lead us to His Heavenly Kingdom.
And then, once we make that decision, we need to turn again to the written word and dogmatic teachings of His Church. The Bible and the Catholic Catechism provide us with very convenient and clearly defined explanations of the lives we are to lead. As we should all be aware, Satan is constantly hard at work to obfuscate, to confuse, and literally deceive us into thinking “We can do it our way”, instead of maintaining self-discipline, choosing the moral and the right, and carrying our crosses. There is one simple uncomplicated teaching that has been ignored and disobeyed from time immemorial. And this disobedience has proven to be at the very center of all the immoral troubles we are beset with today. Sexual relations are a responsibility and the privilege for only a validly married man and woman. There are absolutely no exceptions, no matter how one feels or fantasizes. Satan has persisted in attacking our innate weakness, one we inherited with original sin. He has honed in on the that frailty that St. Paul identified for us as “Concupiscence”. St. John, in Chapter 2, verse 16, distinguishes three kinds of Concupiscence: Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life. The Catholic Catechetical tradition tells us that the Ninth Commandment forbids Carnal Concupiscence. And, we are told in the catechism, “Concupiscence” can refer to any intense form of human desire. And Christian theology has given it a particular meaning”: ”the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. St. Paul identifies it as the rebellion of the “flesh” against the “spirit”. So, concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man’s moral faculties, and, without being in itself an offense, it inclines man to commit sins (CCC 2515).
We (all parishioners ) have a fantastic new resource at our disposal… Free access to the “Formed” multimedia website and the tremendous number of faith-enhancing materials it literally puts at your fingertips. Please take advantage of this opportunity you now have to enlighten you and broaden your comprehension of what the Catholic Church teaches. That knowledge comes in many shapes and forms videos, DVDs, CDs, books and pamphlets. Please make a New Year’s resolution to take advantage of this new treasury of knowledge. Utilizing it, you will be able to do God’s Will by making a strong commitment to grow your comprehension and knowledge of His Teachings (and His Will) regarding Morals and Faith.
Our world and our country are suffering from a lack of adherence to moral standards, rampant relativism and a complete “cave-in” to the lure of concupiscence. This lure of sexual promiscuity has been Satan’s most effective and damaging weapon. This, is amplified by the tremendous amount of lies and misinformation that have gained traction in all phases of the media, proclaiming how we must protect, accept as good, and honor…every sort of sexual depravity. The acronym LGBTQI just keeps growing as they find yet another immoral manifestation to embrace.
If we wring our hands and do nothing… we are definitely part of the problem. If we read, educate and embolden ourselves with the truth, we can become part of the solution that will expose and counteract the lies and the evil. Of particular importance is being knowledgeable enough to instruct and guide and counsel our young people who are being duped, (now even by their schools, in addition to the media) into believing that immoral sexual lifestyles are perfectly good and worthy of consideration.
In particular, I would plead with Parents of impressionable young students to gather with other parents make use of the resources you now have to learn the truth and be able to provide clear concise acceptable answers for your children. When I say “answers”, I mean honest answers to the lies about “gender dysphoria” (better known as ‘transgender’) to counter the lie that the media and now the schools are propagating to American youth. I mean… answers to the lies presenting sodomistic (and all the other same-sex) relationships as acceptable behavior that is not sinful, but rather, is worthy of embracing.
So, in this New Year, let’s all commit to at least do this… Search out the Church’s teaching on all these issues and become confident enough with your knowledge that you can speak in a kind and gentle manner, with authority, and refute the Satanic lies in lifestyles. I urge parents of like-aged students to gather together forming study groups, in a learning endeavor to increase your knowledge. There is no doubt in my mind that this would be in complete accord with God’s Will.
Yours in Christ Our New-born Savior,