Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Those Narrow-Minded Catholics...
Today’s Ordinary Form Gospel included the following: “Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” I preached on this text this morning, but not easily, for the road we walk is narrow raod and a hard one. It is not an easy road to follow, but its destination is a peace and a joy, a contentment of heart that is literally out of this world. The homily went like this...
In my experience, everyone who has lost a loved says, “Well Father, they’ve gone to a better place; they’re out of their suffering now”. My response is always the same: “Well, that’s our hope for everyone;”. But I have to say i do wonder at times, since I have buried people whose lifestyles have been anything but edifying. We simply cannot assume that anyone who has died have gone to that “better place” we call heaven, because we can never know the depths of anyone, but also because to our Lord says the road to heave if found only by a few, not by the many. He certainly died for all, but not all are responding to Him. thus, Our Lord said the road to hell is wide and many are taking it, and the road to salvation is narrow and hard, and few are finding it. For that reason alone i encourage people not only to pray for the Holy Souls (which is a good thing), but to pray for the conversion of sinners and the return of the lapsed.
The sinner and the lapsed are often those who have chosen the spacious, wide road; a life without moral boundaries where all things are acceptable: contraception, abortion, sex outside marriage, divorce with remarriage, elective sterilisation, homosexual activity, receiving stolen goods, consulting spiritualists and horoscopes for guidance and/or encouragement; the attitude of revenge dressed up as ‘justice’; alcohol and drug abuse as simply ‘enjoying life’. Even some of those who attend Mass regularly espouse such activities and see no problem with them because “they are legal, Father”. They may come to Mass for an hour each week or even perhaps for an hour each day, but unfortunately that does not made us Christians at heart.
Coming to Mass while exchanging the moral law of the Gospel for the law of the land is to abandon Christ (we have to call upon political leaders to rediscover the wisdom of God). Quite honestly, sitting in Church for an hour a day or an hour on Sundays does not make us into Christians anymore than sitting in our garage for an hour a day makes us into a car (it does not even make us into a mechanic). To be a Christian we have to live the Christian life of receiving the sacraments, a life of prayer and a life of charity to those in need for the love of God; only living in this way can we be Christians. To be sure, those who follow the spacious road may well have their emotions attuned to the Lord and may love the Lord, but their will is turned against Him if they choose worldly ways, and it is in the will that we sin, not our emotions. And frely chosen sin keeps us from God.
So while we treat others as we would have them treat us (with respect, dignity, care for our needs etc) we still have to walk the narrow road of the moral law of God; the road that has boundaries of behaviour to save us falling of the precipice into the abyss. It isn’t an easy road. Overcoming sin in our own lives is a constant battle and we fail frequently (thank God for Confession, and use it regularly). To be sure we are regarded as narrow-minded when we follow the narrow road, but those who chose the wide road and claim it to be free from oppression are in fact choosing to oppress themselves by becoming slaves to their passions; giving way to every instinct they have. Indeed, choosing the wide road without boundaries is what has brought about the current chaos in society: families are abandoned at will; babies are terminated to avoid career complications, and alcohol and drug abuse disorder whatever family life we have left.
Yes, following the narrow road may well bring us into conflict with family, friends and co-workers (it will certainly set up a conflict within the self as we struggle to avoid the wrong and do the right), but the retirement plan is out of this world.