Isaiah 45:18: Thus says the LORD…the designer and maker of the earth, who established it, not creating it to be a waste, but designing it to be lived in.
…Turning the earth into a wasteland is certainly a sin.
On the other hand, “environmentalism” has become an ersatz religion.
And the religion is having a big and strange meeting just in time for Christmas.
How better to celebrate the season, whatever anyone wants to call it, than to hurry off to Copenhagen to bail out the world and solemnize the doctrines of environmentalism, the newly emerging world religion…Hence Copenhagen, which the environmentalists envision as their version of Vatican II. (Wesley Pruden)
…Perhaps you’re wondering why you don’t read more about the Washington Wizards here.
St. John was a clever, fatherly teacher. He wanted his disciples to realize for themselves what he himself knew. So the Baptist sent them off to Christ with a question.
The gospels do not report anything about the disciples ever coming back with the answer–because it was never about St. John getting an answer. It was about formulating the perfect question, so that the truth could be revealed.
Ask Jesus, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we look for another?”
Are you the Christ or not?
Either He is, or He isn’t. Questions like, “Are you a great holy man and a teacher of righteousness?” or “Do you coexist and tolerate all people?” do not really get to the heart of the matter.
Tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. (Luke 7:22)
In other words: I can be as subtle as your teacher can be. He and I know the truth. Now you do, too. Messiah is here.
Beware the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept seats of honor. As a pretext, they recite lengthy prayers.
Our Holy Father dedicated this year to priests. 2009-2010 is the “Year of the Priest.”
When the Pope began this Holy Year in June, he urged everyone to reflect on the “immense gift which priests represent…presenting Christ’s words and actions each day.”
But when we hear the gospel passage we just heard, it seems like the Lord is telling us that priests will receive a very serious condemnation. After all, wearing long robes, sitting up front, and reciting lengthy prayers is what we do.
Now, let’s make a distinction. It seems pretty clear that the good Lord is condemning not ALL men in robes, but just the greedy and vain ones, the ones who pray without meaning it and who glorify ourselves instead of God.
…Here is a homily which some poor people had to endure on Sunday, All Saints Day:
Your reward will be great in heaven…You will be comforted…You will inherit the land…You will be satisfied…Mercy will be shown you…You will see God. (see Matthew 5:1-8)
These are Christ’s promises to us. Countless Christians have gone before us, and they have already seen these promises fulfilled. Today we salute the saints. They can attest that the Lord is faithful to His promises.
Up in heaven, the saints rejoice in the faithful goodness of God. Here are a few lines of their hymn:
Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever…Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb. (Revelation 7:10, 12)
The saints see the promises fulfilled, and they sing out praise to God. May our hymns harmonize with the hymn of the saints in heaven. We sing because we believe in the One who made the promises.
But before we get carried away, we have to pause. To whom did the Lord make His sweet promises?
The poor in spirit. They who mourn. The meek. The hungry and thirsty. The merciful. The clean of heart. The peacemakers.
This is what the saints were like when they were on earth: poor, merciful, meek, mourning, hungry, thirsty, pure-hearted peacemakers–like Christ Himself. Christ is the Blessed One, the Man of Promise. To be blessed, to inherit the promises, we must be like Him. We must be united with Him.
Every man who has hope based on Christ makes himself pure as He is pure (I John 3:3).
The saints have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14).
To receive the promises, we must be purified. To be like Christ, united with Him, we must be washed clean of sin.
We may be humble and poor in spirit, but not humble enough. We may mourn the evils of the world, but we do not mourn them enough. We may be meek, but not meek enough. We may hunger and thirst for righteousness, but we are not hungry and thirsty enough. We may be merciful to our brothers and sisters in this world, but not merciful enough. Our hearts may clean, but they are not clean enough. We may make peace sometimes, but nowhere near often enough.
At the moment after we were baptized, we were pure. For many of us, that was some time ago. Then it was God’s good pleasure to leave us on earth for a while. Our mission on earth is to do good and avoid evil, to be like Christ.
By God’s grace, we have done some good. We praise God for it. On the other hand, because we are weak and selfish, we have not always avoided evil. We have no one to blame for this but ourselves. The good is God’s, the evil is ours. The praise is God’s; the impurity is ours.
If only we could go back to the baptismal font, and get washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb again! If only we could meekly, mournfully approach the Prince of Peace—if only we could kneel before the Throne of Mercy, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and have our hearts cleaned and refreshed!
If only…if only? Would the all-merciful, all-loving Lord leave us high and dry, with no way back to His life-giving waters? Would He make promises that could never be fulfilled, because there was no way to purify ourselves so we could inherit them?
Of course He would not do that. What did He say to the first priests? He said: “Whoever’s sins you forgive are forgiven them…Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
All Saints Day. Let’s consider the one thing that all the saints have in common. When they trod the earth, they were very different people. They became holy in different ways.
But they all confessed their sins. They were all humble enough to confess. They were not too proud. They were holy, but they knew they were not holy enough.
And they were not too proud to confess their sins to a priest. They were not too Protestantized to admit that the way God’s mercy works is by confessing to a priest.
So, let’s keep All Saints Day holy by singing our hymns of praise to God. Let’s echo the hymns of the saints as best we can. Let’s give the Lord all the praise and glory that are His. Let us salute the saints with joy. And let’s remember that the saints are the people who spent their lives confessing their sins.
…As they continued their journey, He entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed Him.
She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at His feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” –Luke 10:38-42
There is plenty to do. But the life of action in this world is for the sake of reaching the life of contemplation in the next.
It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek. –Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 2