THURSDAY HOMILY: Let Us Build Our Lives on the Rock of the Catholic Church
Let us build our lives on the Rock of the Catholic Church and open our doors to the men and women of our age who seek stability as the world is being shaken
Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On Thursday of the First Week of Advent our readings invite us to build our houses on Rock. Jesus tells his disciples: "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." (Matt. 7)
In the first reading the Lord spoke through the Prophet Isaiah reminding Israel to "Trust in the LORD forever! For the LORD is an eternal Rock." (Isaiah 26) Advent is a time to make an honest assessment. We should ask a question, "On what foundation are we building?" We are living in turbulent times. There is a shaking underway. All one has to do is access any front of the integrated media to hear that the United States will soon go over a "fiscal cliff". There is little doubt that we went over the moral cliff long ago.
However, Christians need not be afraid. Our life together in the Church is meant to provide a place of shelter, not only for us, but for others who seek stability as the shaking continues all around. Yes, the Church is also being shaken. However, that shaking is for her purification, fortification and reform. The Apostle Peter reminded the early Christians undergoing persecution that judgment begins in the household of faith. (1 Peter 4:17) So too does shaking (See, Heb 12).
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us "we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe." (Heb 12:28) Through our Baptism we now live in the in the Church founded upon Jesus Christ, the only place of safety.
On Monday, May 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI held a luncheon with members of the College of Cardinals to thank them for their kindness in wishing him a Happy 85th Birthday on April 16, 2012. In addition, he wanted to thank his friends for wishing him a happy seventh anniversary of his election to the Chair of Peter on April 19, 2012. Vatican News reported that the Holy Father reminded the brothers upon whom he relies for advice and counsel that "The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil."
He shared many of his moments of joy during his apostolic ministry as the successor of Peter, as well as insights into the struggles, telling the Cardinals, "(I) especially thank the Lord for the many years He has given me, years with many days of joy, wonderful times, but also dark nights. But in retrospect it is understood that the nights were necessary and good. We see evil wants to rule the world and it is necessary to go into battle against evil. We (see) it does in so many ways, bloody, with various forms of violence, but also disguised with good and thus destroying the moral foundations of society.We're in this fight and (in) this fight it is very important to have friends. I am surrounded by friends of the College of Cardinals: they are my friends and I feel at home, I feel safe in the company of great friends who are with me, together."
The use of the phrase "Church Militant" to describe the Church on earth used to be common. However, for lots of reasons, including a possible misunderstanding of the term, it fell out of use since the Second Vatican Council. It needs to be revived. In 1953, the Pope Pius XII, who had led the Church through two decades of darkness in a world besieged by war, stated "We belong to the Church militant; and she is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction."
As we face growing hostility it is important to hear the words the Apostle Paul spoke to the Ephesians: "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood; but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:11,12)
In 1969, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a small book entitled "Faith and the Future". In it he spoke of what might be ahead for the Church. Little did he realize then that he would occupy the Chair of Peter. Here are a few excerpts for reflection today:
"The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, she will lose many of her social ...
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