Sunday, August 31, 2008  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Homily, August 31, 2008

Fr. Felix

Brothers and sisters, today we witness with horror a shocking event of a prominent man of God who has just been raised to the heights of leadership of the church, faltering and falling. We see here how easy it is to fall from grace, or go counter to God's own.

Right when we think we have it altogether, grace can slip away, from right between our fingers.

To maintain our good standing with the Lord requires astute vigilance. We could easily deceive ourselves in following our own human principles or cultural principles, human laws. If it happened to Peter-the Rock of the Church (Salvation), then how much easier for us to be deceived and to deceive ourselves into following our own human inclinations?

LESSON!

We can easily find ourselves in front of Our Lord, leading Our Lord, instead of following Our Lord, in which case He will be obliged to keep us in our rightful place: that is, behind him.

A follower follows Our Lord's lead. A follower does not lead. But we often pray, "My will be done" -- not "Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We often pray, "Listen Lord, thy servant is speaking." Not, "Speak, Lord they servant is Listening".

Satan doesn 't follow. Satan doesn't follow anyone. "One thing Satan could never become is a follower of Christ; in his diabolical pride he could never submit to that." He is a sworn defiant. He said, "I would rather rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven."

Our Lord is giving Peter and us tins lesson:

We can be sworn believers in Jesus Christ.

We can be sworn Christians, but play for the other team, the opposing team.

We can easily serve the Kingdom of Satan, rather than of God. Sometimes even surreptitiously, without realizing it.  This is scary. It requires shrude discernment of our own spirit behind things we do, and choose to do.

Not all are of God's will. We might deceive ourselves into following the Lord's Will, while in fact we are following our own wills.  The Spirit of 'Pride is very deceptive. It sneaked into the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve followed their own wills.

PROBLEM:

There are people who have unresolved authority issues. Maybe many of us. Time and again those issues re-surface especially when under stress. They see authority anywhere, they become stressed; and react by being defensive and oppositionally defiant,

We can be and do like that towards the Church, so that instead of' playing for the cause of the Church, we play against the cause of the Church. The Church is trying to improve the world and raise the world to higher dignity humanity is called to, we may be serving the world bring God down from his throne to our own level. People simply have problems with God. He is too powerful.

I heard one Catholic saying, "The Church is too powerful; I don't like when it gets too much into politics." You feel like saying, "Get behind the Church, Satan. You want to neutralize the Church? You want the Church to be weaker, so that you can do what? Do as you please without anyone calling you to account? You want to neutralize the Gospel, the Prophetic voice 0ur Lord? You want to silence the Church? Did Jesus speak to the leaders of Israel? Did Prophet Jeremiah speak to politics? What do you say to that: "Get Behind Me. You place an obstacle to the Church. You want to allow the world to run amok? You want to render the church of Christ irrelevant to the life and needs of the people it is here to serve? You want to cheapen the church of Christ? You want to depreciate the church of Christ? You want to turn it into one of the many human organizations and endeavors without much to it. This person had not made the "Discernment of the spirits."

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."

There are youngsters like that. They simply cannot follow. A parent says one thing; they say another. A teacher corrects them or disciplines them, they mumble and grumble like the Chief Priests and Pharisees mumbling and grumbling at Jesus' parables.

The irony of it is, if you cannot follow, you cannot lead either. You have to follow Jesus, in order to lead your family. You have to follow Jesus, in order to lead the Church. You have to follow Jesus before you can lead the parish.

Our Lord warned us (his disciples) two Sundays ago against marching to the Scribes and Pharisees' holiness. He said beware of yeast/influence for they teach but do not practice what they preach.

Today Our Lord is doing the same with regards to the rest of the world. We cannot conform to the world's way of thinking and expect to be right with God.

We must conform, rather, our minds to God's mind. Think the way He thinks.

Be in step With his thinking. Follow His words.

We have higher standards to live up to than the standards of this world.

Being Christian means taking the Moral High Road. Being Christian means more thrall Just survival. Survival means playing it safe. Just getting bye, by the day.

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