Following is the full text of the homily of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the Mass during the April 14 “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” in Peoria, Illinois.

There is only one basic reason why Christianity exists and that is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave.

The disciples never expected the resurrection. The unanimous testimony of all four Gospels is that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross entirely dashed all their hopes about Jesus and about his message. He was dead, and that was the end of it. They looked for nothing more, and they expected nothing more.
So as much as they had loved him, in their eyes Jesus was a failed messiah. His dying seemed to entirely rob both his teaching and even his miracles of any lasting significance.

And they were clearly terrified that his awful fate, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans, could easily become their awful fate. So they hid, trembling with terror, behind shuttered windows and locked doors.
When the Risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst, their reaction was shocked incredulity. They simply could not believe their own eyes.

Reality only very slowly began to penetrate their consciousness when Jesus offers proof of his resurrection. He shows them the wounds on his hands, his feet, and his side. Jesus even allowed them to touch him. He breaks bread with them and eats with them. And only then could they admit to themselves what had seemed absolutely impossible – the one who had truly died had truly risen! The Crucified now stood before them as their Risen, glorious, triumphant Lord.

His rising from the grave was every bit as real as his dying on the cross. The resurrection was the manifest proof of the invincible power of Almighty God. The inescapable fact of the resurrection confirmed every word Jesus had ever spoken and every work Jesus had ever done.
The Gospel was the truth. Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus was the Savior of the world. Jesus was the very Son of God.

There is no other explanation for Christianity. It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before his Ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.

Today’s appointed Gospel reading for this Saturday in the Octave of Easter is taken from the 16th Chapter of Mark. It concludes with a command from the lips of Jesus, given to his disciples, given to the whole Church, given to you and me assembled here today: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
We heard in today’s Second Reading from the Acts of the Apostles that the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus was amazed at the boldness of Peter and John. Perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they recognized them as companions of Jesus. They warned them never again to teach, or speak to anyone, in the name of Jesus.
But the elders and the scribes might as well have tried to turn back the tide, or hold back an avalanche. Peter and John had seen the Risen Christ with their own eyes. Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit. They asked whether it is right “in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

And Peter and John and all the Apostles, starting first in Jerusalem in Judea and Galilee and then to the very ends of the earth, announced the Resurrection and the Good News to everyone they encountered.

According to the clear testimony of the Scriptures, these Apostles had once been rather ordinary men – like you and me. Their faith hadn’t always been strong. They made mistakes. They committed sins. They were often afraid and confused.
But meeting the Risen Lord had changed everything about these first disciples, and knowing the Risen Lord should also change everything about us.

You know, it has never been easy to be a Christian and it’s not supposed to be easy! The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us. As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.
But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God’s one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism.
And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.
May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.
In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his “Kulturkampf,” a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.
Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.
Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the instrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.

No Catholic ministry – and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries – can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.

Now remember what was the life-changing experience that utterly transformed those fearful and quaking disciples into fearless, heroic apostles. They encountered the Risen Christ. They reverenced his sacred wounds. They ate and drank with him.
Is that not what we do here together, this morning at this annual men’s march Mass?

This is the Saturday of the Octave of Easter, a solemnity so great and central to our Catholic faith that Easter Day is celebrated for eight full days, and the Easter season is joyously observed as the Great 50 Days of Easter. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ – risen from the grave – is in our midst. His Holy Word teaches us the truth. His Sacred Body and Blood becomes our food and drink.

The Risen Christ is our Eternal Lord; the Head of his Body, the Church; our High Priest; our Teacher; our Captain in the well-fought fight.

We have nothing to fear, but we have a world to win for him. We have nothing to fear, for we have an eternal destiny in heaven. We have nothing to fear, though the earth may quake, kingdoms may rise and fall, demons may rage, but St. Michael the Archangel, and all the hosts of heaven, fight on our behalf.
No matter what happens in this passing moment, at the end of time and history, our God is God and Jesus is Lord, forever and ever.

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Christ wins! Christ reigns! Christ commands!

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. Curt Stoller says:

    I had to think of Bishop Jenky and other courageous Bishops and priests today as I listened to a homily on the conversion of Saul into St. Paul. It was a good homily but began to take on a dark aspect. I will try to remember the exact words that were spoken: “Saul was blind to his persecution of Christians. He just wanted to stop them. How often are we blind in our own lives. We judge, condemn. We say: ‘We gotta stop these people, we got stop these illegal immigrants, we gotta stop abortion. And we don’t see our own blindness.” I am a 58 year old Catholic. I never in my life thought I would hear a Roman Catholic priest say that those people are blind who try to stop abortion. When the priest said this, I felt like standing up and walking out of the church but I did nothing. No one did anything. No one said anything. Does the silence mean everyone agreed with the priest? I thought of all the little girls and boys who would be killed today in abortions while I listened to a homily about the “evil of trying to stopping abortion.” I am in the Third Order of Saint Francis and a sinner. Saint Francis said that we should always respect the priest through whom God forgives our sins and shares with us the sacred Body and Blood of Jesus. We laymen would lose hope without people like Bishop Jenky and others who face the full force, the full public force of the wrath of those who oppose the sanctity of life. I will pray for this priest who hears my confessions and gives me the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass. I feel very sad.

  2. Curt Stoller says:

    God bless you Bishop Jenky!

    In a crisis of dissent in the Roman Catholic Church, what is desperately needed is obedience. So I am asking all Roman Catholics who are reading this right now to go above and beyond the call of duty.

    1. Today, whether you are a layperson, priest, religious of bishop: Make a serious vow or promise to God to follow the Holy Father, to obey him. It goes without saying that in being Roman Catholics we have already given our obedience to the Holy Father. But in a crisis of dissent with false teachings flying everywhere, we need to take a stand and vow obedience to the Holy Father or seriously renew our vow of obedience to the Holy Father. This means reading his writings, listening to Him. Make a point of making a special promise to follow His Teaching because Jesus speaks through Him.

    2. Perform little acts of respect for the Holy Father. Encourage others to vow to follow Him. Use electronic media to encourage obedience. Use Facebook if you have it. Place a message in your parish bulletin: To all my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters: read the writings of the Holy Father. Follow his teaching in obedience. If you have the resources you take can take out an ad in your local paper. Now is the time to come together behind the Holy Father. Dissenters are pro-active. You can be pro-active too. There should be no anger or bitterness in what you write or say. We are calling our beloved brothers and sisters to return to obedience to the Pope. This is now about grudges or revenge or anything like that. The messages should be kind and gentle and full of tenderness. Follow the Holy Father. Many people are unaware that false teachings are spread about. Many people think that obedience to the Pope is implied by following what any person calling them self Catholic says. Sadly this is not true. Educate your self on the true teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Read the Holy Father because he addresses the problems that we face today. Treat his words as you would treat the words of our beloved Savior Jesus Himself.

    3. Pray and fast. Pray that all Catholics will return to following Christ Jesus especially by following His Vicar on Earth. Prayer is very powerful. Flood the Heavens with your prayers.

    A spontaneous movement of obedience to the Holy Father can spread from the smallest of charitable actions. Thanks you

  3. Curt Stoller says:

    It is so encouraging to the laity when Bishops like Bishop Jenky stand up for the Faith. Actually “encouraging” is too weak a word. It is a Divine Grace. Sometimes the laity seems utterly abandoned to the power of those who teach a strange faith built on dissent and disobedience and infidelity to the Holy Father and to our Lord Himself.

    Web logs like this give those laymen and laywomen who seek to follow the Magisterium of the Church but who have been silenced, a place to speak . Many of those who seek to follow the Holy Father are oppressed in their parishes and in their diocese. They are silenced and made into outcasts. And they just take it. Often they don’t know what to do or where to turn. So there must always be people like Bishop Jenky, true Shepherds and not just hirelings.

    Everyone who seeks to be faithful to the complete Roman Catholic Faith has a sad story to tell. Most of those will take those stories to the grave in a kind of martyrdom of silence. Recently after readings remarks by the Holy Father on offering public prayer for the victims of abortion, I decided to have Sunday Masses said for aborted children since Masses are often offered for the dead. Who could have imagined what happened? Since children killed in abortion do not receive a single act of human kindness while on the earth, not even a burial, I thought this would be something nice to do for them.

    But the parish obviously did not agree with this line of thinking. Although I paid the stipend, nothing happened. Meanwhile I was approached and given certain “guidance.” I was told that by praying for the aborted children I was manifesting a hatred of women. Really? Most children aborted are girls. Apparently women who had had abortions would be hurt by seeing prayers for victims of abortion in a church bulletin. I was told that Christianity is a religion of mercy and that putting such a prayer in the Sunday Bulletin would not be Christian but would be a kind of judgmental ism. Actually I had worded the prayer to be for both the children killed by abortion and for their parents. Then I was given a copy of the Catechism and told that as a layman I could offer private prayers for the victims of abortion and offer Masses privately since I was a member of the Priesthood of Believers. Finally I was told that the Masses would be said. Now it looks as though the wording is being changed from “For love and mercy for the children killed by abortion and for their parents” to “For parents and children.” How very sad that one cannot offer public prayers for the victims of abortion. I hope this story has a happy ending. I hope that everything that has happened here has been based on honest mistakes and misunderstandings.

    Every lay person who seeks to follow the Holy Father must have a story like this. Also every deacon, every priest, sister and brother . . . even every Bishop who seeks to follow the Holy Father.
    So I cannot tell you how encouraging it is when people like Bishop Jenky stand up for the Faith.
    God bless Bishop Jenky. God bless everyone who resists the culture of dissent and relativism.
    God bless especially those faithful Catholics who don’t know where to turn or what to do!

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