Conforming Ourselves

In 13 Today's Church on 2017/02/24 at 12:00 AM
  • In the ancient calendar of the Church, today is known as Passion Sunday. Therefore, with today’s Mass we enter into Passiontide, the last two weeks of Lent in which we find an increasing revelation of Jesus’ divinity in our Gospel stories.
  • Certainly we see this as Jesus’ works His greatest miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead!
  • Passiontide is generally marked by the veiling of statues and crucifixes as a means ofincreasing our fasting, fasting even from the consolation these beautiful elements of ourchurch give to us.
  • The veiling of crucifixes also reminds us of how, as his arrest drew nearer, Jesus was nolonger able to walk about freely among the Jews who were trying to kill Him, but rather hadto hide at times.
  • Of course if the Master is hidden, so too must His servants be hidden, which is why we veilthe images of saints as well.
  • You’ll also notice that we will not be using the bells during the Eucharistic Prayer. Rather,we will use the harsh clacker, which reminds us of the hammer blows by which nails werecruelly driven into our Lord’s hands and feet.
  • That harsh sound of the clacker is an invitation to us to think about and repent of all the wayswe have contributed to the crucifixion of Jesus through our sins. That awful noise is aninvitation to contrition.
  • But as we begin this intensified meditation on our Lord’s passion and death during these lasttwo weeks of Lent, we must also give some thought to our own death and prepare well for it.
  • For the soul in love with God, for the soul united with the Most Holy Trinity, death is notfearsome but sweet. Indeed, in some senses we should long for death just as a bride longs towalk down the aisle and be united with her beloved on their wedding day.
  • For it is only through death that we will ever be fully united with our Lord in Heaven!
  • But please understand that death need not be a one-time event for the Christian! To thecontrary, dying should be a way of life.
  • In baptism we both die and rise again with Christ, just as Christ died on the cross and roseagain on the 3rd day. So our lives as Christians must be a constant dying to self, dying to sin,so that we might rise again with our Lord.
  • The way that we do this is through the gracious acceptance of whatever suffering God allowsin our lives, and through our penances and mortifications.
  • As this process of dying and rising again is so important, Holy Mother Church even requiresthose of us of a certain age to participate in days of fasting and abstinence from meat duringLent, in addition to giving up something we enjoy during this holy season.
  • These spiritual practices of abstinence and fasting that we take on in Lent are not meant to behollow rituals, like just another item on a daily “to-do” list.
  • They are a means for us to conform ourselves to the life and death of our Lord and Savior.And when we die to ourselves well through these practices, then these practices become lifegiving! They help us grow in virtue and self-mastery, and we gain merit in God’s eyes.
  • As we are now entering Passiontide, I invite all of you not only to keep up the penances and mortifications that you have already taken on this Lent with a renewed zeal, but I ask you aswell to take on even a little more penance during these last 2 weeks of Lent.
  • And if I may be so bold, I ask that you take on something additional to offer up for the healing of all of those who have been hurt by the recent uproar at Charlotte Catholic, and as reparation for the terrible sins against charity that have committed in this sad situation.
  • As you might imagine, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking and praying about the terrible aftermath that ensued Sr. Jane Dominic’s sexuality talk of 2 weeks ago, and many of you have told me of the vitriolic and rancorous nature of Wednesday night’s meeting at CCHS.
  • And I’ve come to some conclusions that I wish to share with you. As is always the case, this situation is not one-sided. Certainly there were legitimate reasons to criticize Sister’s talk.
  • Personally, I don’t think a talk of that type should be given in a mixed-gender setting. Boys and girls should be separated for such things. Moreover, I think that parents have a right to know beforehand when such delicate matters are going to be addressed in detail.
  • The diocese and the high school officials have apologized publicly for these things.
  • On the other side, this situation has revealed that a large number of our Charlotte CatholicHigh School kids and their parents either do not know the Church’s teaching onhomosexuality, or worse yet, they reject it outright – even misusing papal comments to do so.
  • Holy Mother Church teaches that people who struggle with same-sex attraction should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and not subject to unjust discrimination.
  • The Church also teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, as Scripture reveals, and therefore under no circumstances can they be approved. Thus, those who suffer with same-sex attraction are called to a life of chastity. (cf. CCC 2357-2359)
  • But there’s a much bigger problem than ignorance or the rejection of these teachings at CCHS: it’s the utter lack of charity and vicious disrespect that has been present in this fight.
  • Many of your have told me that numerous people launched venomous and malicious attacksupon the high school’s chaplain, Fr. Kauth, at Wednesday night’s parents’ meeting.
  • There were also the voluminous amounts of hateful comments connected to the on-linepetitions that were circulating.
  • My brothers and sisters, anger is one thing, but hatred is another. There are times whenanger can be righteous, just, and appropriate. But when anger morphs into hate-filled tiradesand malicious and calumnious accusations, it can never be justified.
  • Indeed, that type of anger is gravely sinful and must be dealt with in confession.
  • So where do we go from here? To begin with, I think all of us who have been involved inany way with this situation should examine our consciences to see if we have sinned, andthen go to confession if necessary. But I’d also like to make a 2-fold proposition to you.
  • First, as a parish I’d like us to make reparation for the sins that have been committed on both sides of this terrible situation. Because in the end, the One who has been most grievouslyoffended by all this is our Lord. We need to repair this injustice against God.
  • So this coming Friday at 6 p.m., the Holy Hour of Reparation that we already have scheduled will be offered in reparation for all the sins committed in this situation at CCHS. If you havekids at the high school, I ask you most especially to attend if you can.
  • Secondly, as we begin Passiontide today, I ask you to take on an additional penance for these last 2 weeks of Lent. And as you do, offer it up not only in reparation for the sins committedat CCHS, but for the healing of all those involved as well.
  • Continuing to argue and wring our hands over this debacle will get us nowhere. Now is thetime for healing, which will only come through prayer, sacrifice, and reparation.
  • Doing these things will hopefully not only bring healing and peace to the Charlotte Catholic High School community, but also provide us with an ever greater opportunity to die to ourselves, to die with Christ, so that we might also rise with Him in glory!
  • May God’s mercy be on us all this Passiontide.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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