HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE A
Bishop Rene Henry Gracida
I urge you, brothers and sisters.
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree
in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind
and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you,
my brothers and sisters by Chloe’s people,
that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul”
“I belong to Apollos,”
“I belong to Cephas,”
“I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize
but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
I am confident that you recognize that as the first reading of today’s Mass, taken from Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Let’s rephrase Saint Paul’s admonition since we are not Corinthians.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you believe and what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that some of you are saying, “I belong to Francis” or “I belong to Benedict” or “I belong to John Paul” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Francis crucified for you, or was Benedict crucified for you, or was John Paul crucified for you
Or were you baptized in the name of Francis, or in the name of Benedict, or in the name of John Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize you but to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to you, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
Our problem is that the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia was written “with the wisdom of human eloquence,” so that the cross of Christ and His gospel has been emptied of its meaning and the divisions among us grow larger and larger day by day and schism becomes more possible day by day.
What is this “wisdom of human eloquence” that Saint Paul speaks of. It is the tendency, as old as the human race, to assign new meanings to words.
Words are simply symbols.
Words come to symbolize the thing that they represent and by common consent over time the meaning of words becomes fixed and by common consent a word means today what it meant yesterday and what it will mean tomorrow.
The “wisdom of human eloquence” that Saint Paul speaks of is the tendency, prompted by desire to change things, to give new meaning to words so that some hidden agenda is advanced that otherwise might be rejected.
A famous example of this was provided by Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, in the dialog between Alice and Humpty Dumpty:
‘And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’
`I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’
What Humpty-Dumpty is saying is that he can stipulate what the definition of a term is.
Here are some words our contemporaries, the Humpty-Dumpties of our time, have redefined:
Here are some of the words Francis and some cardinals and bishops are redefining for us:
Saint John the Evangelist tells us that God is Love.
Cardinal Casper and Francis tell us that God is Mercy.
Who are you going to believe?
Recently the bishops of Malta told their priests:
If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it (Amoris Laetitia 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).
Maltese Catholics who are living in an adulterous second marriage are told by their bishops that they can engage in gravely sinful behavior that is publicly known and still not be denied Holy Communion when they “acknowledge and believe” that they are “at peace with God.”
This is surely an example of
“the wisdom of human eloquence” that Saint Paul condemns
When words begin to have their meaning changed according to the erroneous beliefs of cardinals, bishops and priests it is time to turn to the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to accept them in their traditional meaning.
Thus, when Jesus says:
“You have heard that it was said,
‘You shall not commit adultery.’
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Obviously, there are some who consider themselves Catholic who do not accept “it”,
“it” being the direct revelation by Jesus Christ of what is to be believed by us.
What is one to do in this time of growing schism?
My suggestion is to have two books at your side constantly:
a Catholic bible
a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic bible because you need to refer to the inspired words of Sacred Scripture before you put your faith in the words of men.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church because it was produced by decades of work by Saint John Paul II to protect you from all the errors being promulgated by national catechisms.
In the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit