Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Man of Sorrows - Fr. Louis Campbell's Sermon for Passion Sunday

Passion Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Man of Sorrows (Is.53:3)

As we enter Passiontide, we witness Jesus being caught between apostate Jews, who constantly challenge His teachings and His authority to teach, and, and the pagan Romans, with whom they are collaborating. His constant adversaries, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, blasphemously charge that He is possessed by a devil.

Jesus reveals His true identity most clearly when He says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am” (Jn.8:58). He has taken to Himself the Name God revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai, “I am who am” (Ex.3:14). Jesus Christ is truly God and truly Man! They take up stones to cast at Him, which is the punishment for blasphemy. They would soon call upon the Romans for His execution, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Lk.23:21).

What the Church is suffering now, and is about to suffer, parallels what Jesus suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Jews. In fact, the suffering and crucifixion of the Church has been foretold by the great saints and mystics, as well as by the Lord Himself:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I have spoken to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also” (Jn.15:18-20).

The world indeed hates us! God’s holy Commandments are despised, and we will be expected to observe and live by the evil laws that replace them. All over the world governments and government agencies are preparing to declare marriage rights for same-sex couples, which would eventually bind states and churches to perform such marriages, and all citizens to accept them as legitimate. The supreme court of the United States intends to rule on this by late June of this year. This shows that there is a hidden hand in control, and that no country is truly independent. Children in the schools are being brainwashed to accept evil as good, and good as evil. We will all have to do that, or suffer the consequences.

The Church today, like her Lord, also finds herself “between a rock and a hard place”. On the one hand she faces the apostasy of her leadership. Francis, whom the world calls “Pope”, wants the Traditionalists, whom he considers to be stubborn and backward, to be shut down. In the meantime, he has incurred excommunication many times over, by taking part in Jewish worship services in their synagogues, and praying with Muslims in their mosques. Christian, Jew, Muslim, or whatever, it’s all the same to him. St. John the Apostle warns us that to take part in such meetings with unbelievers is to share in their evil works:

“For many deceivers have gone forth into the world who do not confess Jesus as the Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. Look to yourselves, that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who advances and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, has not God; he who abides in the doctrine, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, or say to him, Welcome. For he who says to him, Welcome, is sharer in his evil works” (2Jn.7-11).

St. Paul also gives us warning:

“Do not bear the yoke with unbelievers. For what has justice in common with iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what part has the believer with the unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?... Wherefore, ‘Come out from among them, be separated, says the Lord, and touch not an unclean thing…” (2Cor.6:14:16a;17).

Then how could any true “Vicar of Christ” ever join in worship with Talmudic Jews, who believe that our beloved Jesus Christ, whom we adore as God, is a sinner and deceiver suffering in Hell for all eternity? And how could a true “Vicar of Christ” pray together with blasphemers who believe that Mary, the Most Pure and Holy Mother of God, was a sinner, no better than a streetwalker? Just as they hate Him, they hate her also.

She is our Mother too, whom we should defend with our last breath from those who commit such unspeakable blasphemies against her. Every day her shrines and statues are desecrated. Unbelievers, like those who work for Charlie Hebdo in France, do horrible and degrading caricatures of our Blessed Mother. The Muslims didn’t let them get away with doing that to their prophet. Can we stand by and see our Mother treated like this? Who will defend her now, if we don’t? God Himself was not willing to let her remain in this sinful world. He took her up into Heaven, body and soul, where she prays for us and pleads our cause. We must stand up for her now here on earth. This is not a call for thoughtless and imprudent action, but to wake up and come to the defense of your Mother!

This week we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation on Wednesday, and the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday. We are entering the most holy season of the Liturgical Year. The statues and pictures are veiled, so that we may concentrate on the mystery of Our Lord’s Passion, which Isaiah sees prophetically:

“Despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised. Whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities: he was bruised for our sins. The chastisement of our peace was upon him: and by his bruises we are healed” (ls.53:3-5).

(Posted with Fr. Campbell's permission)