Friday, December 11, 2015


“Hypocrite!” Not a pleasant epithet. Jesus addressed it to those who, obstinately, and with hatred, opposed him. For what reason did he use that word to them? Because, he said, quoting Isaiah:
This people honours me only with lip-service,
while their hearts are far from me.
The worship they offer me is worthless.

What will Jesus say to those who go to Sunday Mass with filth in their minds, which they spread to fellow Christians immediately after leaving the church, (even making a comment indicative of their awareness that others might still be at Mass), and these recipients express their enjoyment? What will Jesus say to those who, marinating in lewdness through the first week of Advent, post obscene or cruel and dirty stuff on social media even on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his mother?

When such self-described Christians come face to face with Jesus at their journey’s end – if, indeed, they have the brazenness to look him in the face - what will Jesus say to them?

Are hypocrite Christians truly believers? It seems inconceivable that someone could believe in God – Omnipresent God – and use foul words, think foul thoughts, broadcast foulness.
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?
he that formed the eye, shall he not see?
he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? (Ps.94:9,10)

There is no such thing as innocent smutty talk, nor harmless double entendres, and porn is not popcorn. Indulging a taste for anything that degrades the mind degrades the soul. That is bad enough: “you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life... evil desires... all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry. ... now you, of all people, must give all these things up: ... dirty talk” (Col. 3:5-8). What shall be said to those who spread degrading matter? Is the mother of Jesus a pagan deity to be propitiated with a patter of words and with lighted candles when one is in need of intercession? Shall there never be a thought given to who she is, to how she lived, to how she bears witness?

Ah well, when God is so disrespected; mocked by the sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist while in a state of serious sin, why should Our Lady be taken for a role model?

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap, Preacher of the Pontifical Household, in his first sermon for the Advent season this year (Pope Francis in the congregation), said: “Whatever Christ himself was not able to experience ‘in the flesh’ – since his earthly existence, like everyone else’s, was limited to certain experiences – is now lived and ‘experienced’ by the Risen One ‘in the Spirit’ thanks to the spousal communion at Mass.”

“If my eyes have become Christ’s eyes and my mouth has become Christ’s mouth, what a reason not to allow my gaze to indulge in lustful images. One can only shudder at the thought of the terrible damage that is done to the body of Christ that is the Church,” the papal preacher said, about this sort of self-declared Christian.

It is easy to live like a ‘good’ pagan: don’t kill; don’t steal; don’t lie (much); don’t cheat (much); give spare cash and unwanted things to the poor; sympathise with friends in distress; take them some food. All this is fine. But what is Christian about such a life if there is no honest attempt to commune with God? To do that requires a clean mind and a clean heart: “Happy the pure of heart; they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

Last year, on the feast of St. Stephen, Pope Francis said at the Angelus: “To truly welcome Jesus in our existence, and to prolong the joy of the Holy Night, the path is precisely the one indicated in this Gospel: that is, to bear witness in humility, in silent service, without fear of going against the current, able to pay in person. While not all of us are called, as St. Stephen was, to shed their own blood, every Christian is nonetheless required in every circumstance to lead a life coherent with the faith he or she professes. Christian integrity is a grace that we must ask of the Lord. To be coherent, to live as Christians rather than merely saying, 'I am Christian' while living like a pagan.

True Christians do not think they are saints. They know they are sinners. But after each fall they get up and climb on, following the blood-stained trail left by the Saviour. They focus on God, not on themselves, preening before cameras. Certainly they do not spout second-hand pieties out of one side of the mouth while obscene jokes come out the other side. They are not hypocrites.

Passages to reflect on:
Matthew 6:22-23
The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!

Matthew 15:18-20
The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and it is these that make a man unclean. For from the heart come evil thoughts...

I Corinthians 11: 27-28
anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily towards the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognising the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation.

I Corinthians 6:19-20
Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.


The two ways

Happy the man
who never follows the advice of the wicked,
or loiters on the way that sinners take,
or sits about with scoffers,
but finds his pleasure in the Law of Yahweh,
and murmurs his law day and night.

He is like a tree that is planted
by water streams,
yielding its fruit in season,
its leaves never fading;
success attends all he does.
It is nothing like this with the wicked, nothing like this!

No, these are like chaff blown away by the wind.
The wicked will not stand firm when Judgement comes,
nor sinners when the virtuous assemble.
For Yahweh takes care of the way the virtuous go,
but the way of the wicked is doomed.

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