Category Archives: Jesus

Homily 2018 03 30 – Good Friday and the Silence of God. Oh my…

holy sepulcher

Too long of a homily, so, just some bullet points:

  • God’s Word, His Son, becomes Incarnate so as to forgive our sin in all mercy but by way of justice, He taking on the punishment for our sin, death, the innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • We ask in our idiocy: “Where is God? Why is He silent?” But we don’t mean it. We don’t want to hear God speak to us. That’s why we killed him.

  • Jesus’ corpse answers with silence that screams out His love for us so loudly that our reaction so as not to hear Him is to distract ourselves with such noise that can’t hear His silence speaking to us from the tomb. We seal ourselves off from everything and everyone, especially Jesus in His eloquent silence, through alcohol and drugs and distractions which really cost us lots of money. When I mentioned in my homily about the distractions which really cost us lots of money, there were very many who laughed.
  • When we finally hear the silence of God, of Jesus, in the tomb, speaking His love for us, He having heard us, He coming to the rescue with a mercy founded on justice, doing it the right way, with God knowing what suffering and death means, when we are stunned finally by the goodness and kindness of Jesus right to the end, perhaps then we can say in all the unearthly silence with His blood all over us – along with the soldier who had just shoved his spear into the side, into the Heart of Jesus: “Truly this was the Son of God.” That is: Truly this is the Son of God who hears us and speaks to us so eloquently from the tomb.

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Filed under HOMILIES, Jesus, Spiritual life

The Necessary Co-Redemptrix

SISTINE MADONNA detail

While preaching this Palm-Sunday on what would be an appropriate meditation for this Holy Week for my parishioners – the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then the 4th and 13th Stations of the Cross: Jesus meeting his mother after getting smashed down by the cross for the first time and then Jesus being lowered from the cross into her arms, ever so dead – in preaching on all that… well… I mean… I suppose I could put the audio of the homily up… It’s just that it’s embarrassing as I got entirely choked up a number of times, entirely unable to speak for at least what seemed like ten seconds… thirty seconds…

Here’s the deal: Not that it at all came out in what I said necessarily, but it was in preaching on Jesus and His good mom that I “understood” – beheld quite directly, if you will – the dynamic, if you will – by which it is entirely necessary that Mary be Co-Redemptrix. To me this wasn’t just an “insight”, but rather an invitation to behold what’s really going on with our Redemption, ever so personal for Jesus about Mary, the good Son of a good mom. It was like seeing Mary as Mother from the eyes of her good Son.

I asked a specialist in psychology and priests about this fault of mine, getting choked up, which the Brits would call weakness, and even worse. He knows me well, and is my spiritual director. He straight up laughed at me for stupidly even asking the question, saying that Freud would say that it all has to do with an unresolved conflict with my own mom. But, then he said that Freud has been discredited on saying everything like this must be a “conflict,” adding that surely this was, in fact, for me, a valid religious experience. And then he went on to mention some of his own like experiences.

I say all that just to rid some of such unnecessary distraction so that they might pay attention to what is important. Here are some points spelling out a bit what I didn’t entirely spell out in the homily because of my getting choked up:

  • Only Adam was responsible for the “breath of the living ones” which was only given to him with its intention that he and his offspring be alive and then reaffirm this life should he eat from the tree of the living ones, that is, living with good choices, instead of eating, as it were, from the tree of knowing good mixed with evil, a kind of epistemology of dumbed-downness by which the power of his agent-intellect was corrupted not only for himself, but for us. Adam changed the intention of the breath from life to death. We no longer have the wherewithal to keep matter and spirit, body and soul together. We start to drop into the grave the moment we are conceived.
  • Any offspring have a share in the breath of the dying ones, and are dumbed-down, weakened, unable to love that which, the One – God – whom they don’t know, as they otherwise should, and so are immediately in sin, what we call original sin.
  • God creates the soul which is concomitant with that life, that dying life at the choice of Adam, not of God. God is just respecting Adam’s choice for himself, for us. We are created good up to the point Adam chose. And that’s the point: up to the point that Adam chose. Adam chose to descend to the level of where his wife bid him to go, not more nor less.
  • In justice, in our Redemption, Jesus should redeem us, recreate us only inasmuch as, only to the point that one of us would ask for this, Mary’s intercession for us.
  • Mary, free from original sin, and therefore with purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of (spiritual) vision so that she could see exactly what we needed as she looked upon what sin has ravaged on her Son. She was in perfect solidarity with Son, her Immaculate Heart, His Sacred Heart.
  • Jesus followed up on her intercession for us, and only up to the point she desired this for us, which, of course, was perfectly. She’s the perfect mother. Our mother.
  • That maternal intercession of hers was necessarily for Him. It is this to which He looked. And only this. Jesus had a human nature. In justice, He should use this human nature. It is in His human nature that He received the intercession of His mother for us. He was going to do exactly what she wanted for us (which is, of course, exactly what He wanted for us precisely as her children, with Him).

Just to say it:

Our Redemption by Jesus is equal, not more, not less, to the maternal intercession of Jesus’ good mom for us. He looked to her, the Son to the Mother. Just as Adam looked to his wife as to just how far he should fall, so did the new Adam look to The Woman to see just how far He should lift us back up. Being Immaculate, she saw our need perfectly, and, in perfect solidarity with her Son, interceded for us perfectly. Having said all that, it is she who set us before our Redemption. Jesus would not have done it without her indicating that Redemption. Mary is entirely necessary as Co-Redemptrix for our Redemption.

Academically, the point is entirely valid with all my years of doctoral studies on Genesis 2:4–3:24 (including 3:15). I have much to say on all this, drawing out all the implications, drawing out the incisive ironies. I am overwhelmed with the entirely and very personal dynamic, if you will, of what is happening with our redemption, Jesus looking to His good mom: “Woman! Behold! I make all things new!”

Finally, this provides me the engine – how to say it? – to draw out a popular version of the thesis. I pray that I’m able to accomplish this. I pray that this works toward what has been called the fifth Marian dogma.

Now it’s more personal than it ever was. It’s like a project with Jesus.

I entirely realize that making it personal makes me look to be the fool. Delusional. An idiot. Fine. Whatever. I know what I know. It’s all come together. Whatever authority by which I write anything has nothing do with me. It’s to be judged on consistency with the Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterial interventions of the Church. It’s to be judged on the reasoning. Yes.

All I can say is that, right now, at the start of Holy Week, I’ve been shaken to the core of my being before God that Mary, our good mom, is necessarily Co-Redemptrix. It has to be that our Redemption in entirely involved with Jesus looking to His good mom. And, yes, she was singled out in Genesis: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and The Woman [in context, the future Mother of the Redeemer].

In saying that, what is left to say? Just this:

Jesus, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son, has done all things well.

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Filed under Immaculate Conception, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, John Paul II, Mary

Day Off: guns & spiritual conversations – Jesus bragging on His mother in hell

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Not having bought any ammo since, I think, sometime in late 2018, the “long-way” was taken to the hermitage, passing by a number of Walmarts with variously stocked ammo desks, some desk managers being more on top of things than others. Then, after hitting the UPS Store, it was up and up and up “the mountain.” BTW, can you spot the huge cross made out of I-beams partially hidden by the trees towering above the driveway in the picture above? The neighbor to the hermitage is a master welder.

After a couple of hours of quiet time – a day off after all – energy returned, prayers were said, protection of angels was requested, targets went up, mags were loaded, timers were set, “ears” were adjusted, adrenaline was forced, trigger fingers, left and right, were steadied, concentration was narrowed…

The first course consisted of some six stages of drills, supposedly of a SEAL team, surely dumbed down and from “back-in-the-day.” Here’s a picture of the first stage, just three yards out, from cover/holstered, with an 8 1/2 x 11 target of the usual “body” (inside the two vertical lines: 5:3/4″ x 10:1/2″) and “head” (consisting of a 2″ x 4″ box at the top, an eye-forehead shot instantly “stopping the threat”). The first stage is just one shot from holster to the “head” ≤ 1.5 seconds. Dunno why, but this time I was much more accurate and quick for all stages of all courses, coming in mostly (way) under time and with smaller more centered patterns, mostly inside the “inside bottle” representing the spinal cord. Prayers for priests and the bishop while moving, marking, changing out targets.

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The target then moves further away for different stages until 75 feet away up the ridge.

DIGRESSION: Someone had given me some massively oversized targets (23″ x 35″), I guess to poke fun at my aim, the comment surely being that I’m not able to hit the side of a barn… from inside the barn! I took those dozen or so roll of wallpaper-esque targets just to see if there was anything superimposed. Nope. Having ascertained that, those targets will now go back to the giver. As of a couple years, the most recent policy really is no gifts from intel, ever, zip, zero, zilch… can’t happen. I’m guessing the targets are for zeroing in rifle scopes, say, from a mile out. But I’m not a sniper. I don’t own or use rifles. Not my thing. With a Glock, as the saying goes, aim small, shoot small.

After that, it was time for an FBI course with reduced QIT 97-99 inside bottle targets (that partial detail fitting on legal paper), and then the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal courses (that target consisting of foam dessert plates propped up by pigtail wires), and then some swinging breakfast blend plastic coffee buckets on ropes and filled with dirt (out to about 15 yards), totaling for day I’m guessing about 175 bullets. Not much, but enough. It was a good day for review and keeping edgy.

With the Glock thoroughly cleaned and oiled and the target-ammo changed out for appropriate carry-ammo, I was eager to go to the neighbors of the hermitage. That’s when the real happiness of the day began.

The spiritual conversations after plinking are becoming a thing, as it were, something that’s expected and to which we all look forward. We spoke of judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, witnessing to the point of martyrdom, suffering, angels, Jesus, our dearest Heavenly Father, the state of the Church, the state of our souls, the patience of our Lord with us sinners, and being happy for Jesus that after all He has gone through for us, He is now in heaven with our Heavenly Father.

But most of all – at length – we spoke about our Blessed Mother, Jesus’ good mom, about what she went though in this world, what with her purity of heart and agility of soul and clear vision confronting this fallen world, how it is that she was in solidarity with her Divine Son Jesus as He was tortured to death right in front of her. If recorded, these conversations would be good material for an ongoing series of blog posts.

A repeat-topic about our Lady came up, you know, which of the 14 Stations of the Cross would be most – how to say? –  involving to Jesus. The neighbor said it would surely be the meeting with His mother. I agreed, but in another way, saying that it may well be when Jesus is taken down from the cross and put in the arms of His blessed mother.

Aquinas says that the divinity of Jesus never left His body even when that body died and He, with His soul, descended to hell to preach to the fallen spirits. It struck me then, devastated as He would be in His soul that His mother was so devastated holding His dead body, that He would be bragging on His mother to the fallen spirits: “Look at her! She’s the mother-warrior who crushes you, Satan, under her heel. She’s remained faithful in the most adverse circumstances, all of hell attacking. You have failed! She has won souls for heaven!” These are the words, so full of love, which will torture those fallen spirits, so full of hate, for eternity.

Much better to have our souls in order, frequenting the Sacraments, to go to heaven and rejoice to be happy that, after all they went through in this world for us, both Jesus and our Blessed Mother are there.

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Filed under Day Off, Guns, heaven, Hell, Jesus, Mary, Spiritual life

Localized Theology Doctorates and the homosexualized abuse crisis

dung snow

Some doctorates about local stuff are good. But – just to say – …

For all the years I was in Rome across many decades – and also here in these USA, fellow students were – pretty much all of them it seemed – were writing their doctoral theses (you fill in the blanks) on ____[TOPIC]___ in ___[LOCAL AREA]___. For instance:

  • Sing-song vocalizations of various words spoken by street people [of a certain race] on a particular street corner in Louisiana depicting continuation in liberation. [That’s for real. The priest who wrote this thesis ended up convicted of abuse of minors. Yep.]

Some were more serious theologically, along the lines of:

  • Whether violence is useful in Liberation Theology applications in Amazonian Region #___[NUMBER]___

Most were outright attacks on the Creed, along the lines of:

  • The non-divine Jesus from below in the experience of the ___[TRIBE]___ peoples

Lots of these dealt with sexual morality, of course, forcing a loss of morality.

  • One, from a priest in Oceania, promoted ethnic cleansing, even violent, as in genocide. He hid it in footnotes, but I spotted it. None of the professors on the defense commission – somehow – did not spot this at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Surprise, surprise.

I brought that thesis to the attention of his bishop, of the local archbishop, and of a number of dicasteries in the Holy See. The guy was promoted. I’m so naive. But failure is still success if one has done one’s best to do what is right and just. We must never give up. Never. God’s not so interested in our success as He is in our faithfulness to Him.

The content of all this blather doesn’t matter. The point is that the very exercise of writing such a thesis restructures the writer’s beliefs, so that he now has nothing but a Marxist world-view, a dialectic analysis of “the people.”

Did I say that pretty much everyone was doing this?

And now we see this as the constant theme, the pastoral solution of this diocese or that conference of bishops in that ever so special culture in an ever so special place, so special that the Church is irrelevant, Jesus is irrelevant, the truth is irrelevant. It’s experiences and feelings and stuff like, you know, like that stuff.

When people in not so special cultures in not so special places hear of such things, of course they think that they are also so special that the Church and Jesus and the truth is also irrelevant for them, so they can do what they damn well please. And make no mistake, this is always about morals, always about sex.

Does no one believe in Christ Jesus?

These weak people do such damage to peoples right around the world.

If you’re reading this and you’ve done up such a thesis, perhaps you’d like to comment and defend yourself, or, as someone else known to me has done instead, repent of such idiocy and then speak of your new found friendship with Him who is the Living Truth, for all peoples of all times and places and cultures and social conditions, of all tribes and tongues and peoples and nations. Perhaps you would like to speak of looking upon Him who we have all pierced with our sin, He who hangs on the cross for all of us to see.

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

It’s all about Him. He’s the One. He’s the only One. Write about Him. Speak about Him. Bring people to Him, to their knees in Confession. Then we’ll live by His love, His Truth, His goodness and kindness, His forgiveness, and yes, then, His mercy founded on… wait for it… His justice.

Otherwise, people run to the lowest common denominator of hell. Sexual deviance. Always.

Peace, my friends.

Update: LifeSite’s interview with Cardinal Sarah, a particularly apropos interjection:

“We tolerate any calling into question. The Catholic doctrine is challenged, and in the name of self-styled intellectual postures, theologians take pleasure in deconstructing dogma and in emptying morals of their profound meaning. Relativism is the mask of Judas disguised as an intellectual. How can we be surprised that so many priests break their commitments? We downgrade the meaning of celibacy, we demand the right to a private life, which is the opposite of the priest’s mission. Some go so far as to claim the right to homosexual activity. One scandal follows another, involving priests and bishops.”

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Filed under Abuse, Jesus, Politics

JBS: Yaron Svoray & Simon Wiesenthal [Jesus sweat great drops of blood]

Mr Yaron Svoray, thank you. Having said that, a warning: Yaron doesn’t give details to this audience. Thank God. But what he says about Neo-Nazis today put me into what I wouldn’t rightly call a deep depression so much as an overwhelmingly clearer awareness of the evil that we can and do find anywhere around us and with the most unsuspecting people. This story is NOT for the innocent and naive. It contains things you can’t unhear. My recommendation: Don’t subject yourself to it. I put it here as a proof of the point made. Having said that, again, thank you, Mr Svoray.

Mr Yaron Svoray mentions that he thought he was going to simply die, not being able any longer to stand in the presence of such terrible evil, the pressure being too much. Just listening to his story I understood exactly the feeling he had. I know that feeling. I’ve experienced it. It’s not a depression thing, as people might describe as one’s insides being gripped by a darkness which drags one down. No. This is instead like one’s soul is trying to leave one’s body so as to escape the evil… the evil… The pressure of the evil, the feeling of inescapability from the evil, is just too much, as if one is going to get a heart attack. One feels like one is going to drop to the ground, dead. Don’t listen to Yaron, lest you die. It took me days to somehow be extracted from that feeling that one’s soul is trying to escape the evil, so close, I guess, to having a heart attack, enough for this to be noticed by others. Uggh.

Having said that, I profusely thank Mr Svoray for his presentation. He, a Jewish guy, having worked with the great Jewish educator and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal (31 December 1908 – 20 September 2005), has, in this way, led me to the wounds of Jesus. In seeing those wounds, like Thomas the Apostle, one realizes that there is nothing that should surprise us. Jesus saw it all, already. But we are weak. Like Yaron, who knew all the horrors of the holocaust, and who was about to die just for being in the presence of evil… like Yaron, we are just so weak to behold any more evil in the present moment. What do we really know about evil? And if we do not have the wherewithal to withstand the evil, what, therefore, do we really know of God’s love, God who, in beholding all the evil, nevertheless so loved the world that He… ? Again, Yaron, thank you.

Having said all that, Jesus, in His human nature, also had this experience in the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, when He sweat great drops of blood. All of hell and hell’s evil and all the sin of all had come upon Him. Uggh! As the “Doctors of Calvary” tell us, in their examination of the Gospels and the Shroud of Turin, Jesus did indeed have a massive heart attack breaking the pericardium. Jesus died more of this heart attack before 24 hours would pass than He did from the torture and crucifixion. Remember that Pilate was surprised that Jesus had already died, the process of the effects of the crucifixion usually taking a few days. Jesus faced all the evil. Uggh.

The question then before us is this: Do we become cynical in the face of any and every bit of evil that we see, or do we allow ourselves to have our eyes opened however painfully right throughout our lives, and therefore do we allow ourselves to help others who are being subjected to the evil?

It is in seeing how far Jesus had to reach to get us, into our darkness, into the evil, knowing what it would cost Him to show us His goodness and kindness and truth… It is in seeing just how far Jesus had to reach to get us – and He coming among us anyway – that we can turn from the darkness to thanksgiving to God for Jesus coming among us.

For those of you who choose to watch that video… uggh… Just know I’ve warned you.

Having said all that, it is listening to this story a certain statement of a certain person who told me that he wants to “kill Jews” comes to mind.

I’ve never been one to say “Never again!” because it is too easy to think that in saying that one has already done enough. If you see something say something. But just like the tragedy at the school shooting in Florida, no one is listening. Too bad, that.

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Filed under Intelligence Community, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Shoah

The real blasphemy behind Ronald McDonald crucified

Oded Balilty / AP

This is in an Israeli Museum, whose disclaimer is that it was just part of a loan from another museum in another part of the world. Of course, that rather singular piece may well have been the purpose of getting a loan of lots of stuff from that other museum. It’s surely not a mistake, like they didn’t know about it. There have been some protests.

But let’s think about this. Whatever of some of Jesus’ followers throughout the centuries, Jesus, at the very least, for Jews, is a Jewish good guy, right? Spectacularly truthful, spectacularly good and kind, spectacularly forgiving, spectacularly in-your-face in the correction of hypocrites while NOT being a hypocrite Himself.

So, I don’t think the artist has anything against Jesus. I do think that there is a protest about the hypocrisy of some individuals who call themselves Catholic or Christian for that matter. Indeed, there are those like Martin Luther, whose anti-Jewish ideology was arguably as bad or worse than that of Hitler. For Luther to use the Cross to smack down Jews is the ultimate hypocrisy. I agree.

However, I think that using Jesus Himself, who is innocent of the hypocrisy, as the object of one’s scorn, is to take on the very hypocrisy that one says one despises.

So, let’s do a test – and mind you, while I’m a Catholic priest I am also Jewish – what if the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and say, the one is Washington, D.C., were to transform their museums and paint all pictures of victims as Ronald McDonald, because, after all, they were innocent and Jewish, like Jesus, right? I would be outraged if anyone did that. That would be horrible. A travesty. Sooo very disrespectful. Uggh. So, what about the treatment of the Jewish good guy, Jesus, tortured to death by the Romans because of…. wait for it… because of the sins of us all, from Adam until the last man is conceived?

As I say, those who take on the hypocrisy of the hypocrites are as hypocritical as those they despise as hypocrites. How about leaving the innocent out of it, and offering a critique of those who are hypocrites? I have. I do. At risk to myself, mind you. And with great effect, mind you. How is that? Because I say all the time that I am a repentant hypocrite, just another of all of us. Without Jesus, I myself am just another hypocrite. Hypocrites, repentant or not, know other hypocrites.

Having said all that, what’s going on? I think the artist and museum and whoever agrees with such blasphemy in all laughter and high five-ing BUT – unbeknownst to themselves, are looking for deeper realities in the followers of Jesus. They have already seen the hypocrites and dismissed them. Great. But they want to test and push and see if anyone anywhere has anything of Jesus about them. Whether they realize it or not, they want to see all the love and truth and goodness and truth and kindness and truth and forgiveness and truth that our Lord has to offer also in His followers. They are fascinated by Him, drawn in by Him, want with all their hearts and souls and minds and with all the strength they want to know if Jesus is the One, the only One, the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the Divine Son of God coming into the world to take away our sins by standing in our place, the Innocent of the guilty, so that He might have the right in justice to have mercy on us. And we all – all of us – obliged. We all pushed Him right to death.

Here’s the deal:

  • All people on earth have the right – the absolute right, mind you – to have the fullness of the love and truth of Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated to them, for, after all, Jesus did redeem all of us and wants that we be saved.
  • If we do not witness, people are absolutely going to push and shove, baiting, until they find that it’s all true, that Jesus lives and is with His true followers who are NOT hypocrites. But push and shove they will.
  • How can we blame anyone for such “art” when at the same time we are not witnessing to Jesus as we should and as we are indeed able by Jesus’ grace… should we choose to take that up and live as Jesus’ good friends.

So, does this artwork make me angry? No. I am saddened by it, saddened that there are those who do not know His love and His truth and His goodness and His kindness, noticing that we need salvation so much as not to see the Savior Himself. What I am angry about is that there are those who are in a position to witness widely but choose not to present the truth, but rather only political correctness. If you want to know what the real blasphemy is, that’s it, right there. Do you think Jesus is upset with the Ronald McDonald crucified thing in Israel? I think rather that He is angry that some of His own priests and bishops are total F***-ups. What? Not nice of me? Here’s what’s not nice, if you’ve forgotten:

When I published the following linked rant, I thought surely I would be silenced and worse. But, no, that didn’t happen. It’s hard to argue against the truth.

Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!

Permit me to put up the video I made some ten years ago in Jerusalem. Don’t think I don’t know. Don’t think I don’t care.

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Filed under Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Shoah

Homily 2019 01 20 Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. John 2:4. *The* Wedding. Priests are married.

wedding of cana mosaic lourdes rosary basilica doors

These are the massive central portals to the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes, in front of which the candlelight rosary procession is led nightly in Lourdes, France. The artist attempts to get us to understand that the two scenes are one by distributing the jars of water now turned to wine at the Wedding in Cana on both sets of doors. He also has us pointed to where the real “Wine” is to be had, as well as Mary’s solidarity with Jesus at His Hour, where she is to intercede for us in the redemption of the image of God, as Genesis has it, one man and one woman for marriage and family.

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; Οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου (John 2:4).

  • Mary’s statement: “They have no wine.”

After all, we have to celebrate the image of God as to be found in marriage and the family when the Redeemer of the image of God within us is present. All the Sacred Scriptures point to this. She, who is the Mother of the Redeemer of Genesis 3:15, knows she can go to her Son who is set for the rise and downfall of many in Israel, He who is the Light unto the Nations.

  • Jesus’ title for His mom: “Woman”

Some think that this is an insult. Since when is being a woman an insult?! Anyway, this is the epic title of the Woman in Genesis 3:15, the War Hero over against Satan, and the Immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, the War Hero by way of her maternity of “her Seed.”

Then we see the Woman below the cross who, already having given birth to the Head of the Body, Jesus, becomes mother also to the members of the Body, that is, by way of her perfect intercession for us under the cross, with all the “birth pangs” as it were that that entails. This is when all of hell is broken out. This is when she is successful in the battle with her Seed, her Divine Son, Jesus, who crushes the power of Satan over us and is crushed in His human nature for us.

Then we see the Woman in the Apocalypse, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under he feet, and crowned with twelve starts, she, again, depicted as victor over Satan by way of her maternity.

For Mary to be entitled Woman is not an insult!

  • Jesus’ question: “What is that to me and to you?”

That question refers to both Jesus’ good mom and Jesus. Jesus wants to draw out the truths that are taking place. The Vulgate gets it exactly right: “Quid mihi et tibi est?” “What is that to me and to you?” It’s a real question, seeking the deeper truths to be spoken publicly. Great!

The Holy Spirit inspired the words to be the way they are. If we rewrite the Scriptures, bad things happen. Thus:

The Catholic NAB translates this if not with true malice, then with sheer incompetence: “Woman, how does your concern affect me?” That makes it sound like Mary just wants more alcohol for everyone, and that Jesus couldn’t give a hoot about anyone there, so that He wants to point out her stupidity publicly.

The KJV is even worse: “What have I to do with thee?” It’s like these rebels are having Jesus disowning His mother. That’s bad, really evil.

One of the Spanish translations simply has “déjame,” “Let me take care of it” (which leaves Mary out of it altogether. No good, that. And that’s only if we give it the far-fetched best sense, which would otherwise be: “Leave me alone!” Sigh… The Lectionary version we had was this: “¿Qué podemos hacer tú y yo?” That puts way too much emphasis on stuff to do instead of what the real question was about, namely, the explication of the deeper realities at hand.

  • Jesus’ hint for the answer: “My hour is not yet arrived.”

His Hour is when He is on the Cross on Calvary when all hell is broken out and the battle is on, when Mary’s hour of intercession for us is to be in full operation.

Let’s do the analogy: Cana has a wedding banquet. The Last Supper is Jesus’ wedding banquet. His vows refer to the epic battle for our souls mentioned above: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice.

If Jesus wants Mary to make the realities of our salvation more apparent by this question, if Jesus wants to point out that we are to celebrate such a marriage at Cana because Jesus is set to redeem all marriage and the image of God within us by way of His own marriage with His Bride the Church at the Last Supper and then on the Cross, then we understand Mary’s “response.” She simply has to turn and say to the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.”

We priests and bishops MUST understand this, that we are married to the Church by way of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we offer, by way of the wedding vows that we recite in the first person singular: This is my body… my blood. And we have to be just that ready instantly to lay down our lives for the flock just as Jesus, that is, by way of the love and truth and goodness and kindness of Jesus granted with sanctifying grace.

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Baptism of Jesus the sinner?

jesus faces

This coming weekend we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. So, like, when’s the last time you heard a rousing sermon on the Baptism of Jesus that was something more than “Jesus sanctified the waters” (true but there’s more to actually say) on the one hand, or Jesus was a sinner and needed baptism like everyone else on the other hand (the incessant clamor of the filthy, filthy, filthy liberals)? Print this out and give it to your priests (and deacons… and bishops for that matter) to help them get the plot…

  • So, because of Abraham’s lack of faith (and therefore lack of openness to, you know, life, for, like, what, 25 years before he finally believed in the Lord, and not because of his faith but because of the faith given to him by the Lord God, well, because of all that previous lack of faith there would be a punishment, which is that for hundreds of years the chosen people would be enslaved down in Egypt.
  • They were then brought to the Lord God on eagles wings. They went through the sea on dry ground and their pursuers, the soldiers and charioteers of Pharaoh, were drowned as a punishment for enslaving the chosen people for physical labor.
  • John the Baptist, the greatest prophet, preparing for the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, wanted to give people an opportunity to have a humble and contrite heart so that they would be prepared for the words: “Father! Forgive them!” After all, the chosen people of his day had been enslaving each other in sin and deserved to die just like the soldiers and charioteers of Pharoah.
  • John, with utter brilliance, had the people come down into the waters of the Jordan, long a symbol of the sea during the exodus. The people confessed their sins publicly and went under the waters to show that, with humble and contrite heart, they deserved to die like the soldiers and charioteers of Pharaoh for enslaving each other in sin. Perhaps the Lord God would forgive them of their sin.
  • Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, comes down for the baptism to that, under the waters, the innocent for the guilty, He could confess our sins, the Suffering Servant, calling out to our Heavenly Father that He might be treated as guilty of all sin from Adam until the last man is conceived, and thus have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • After this event, when the skies opened, the Holy Spirit descended, and the Father spoke of His Beloved Son, Jesus then spoke of how much He was constrained until He could be baptized with the baptism for which He came, the Baptism in His own blood, the punishment for our sin.

Thank you, John. Thank you, Jesus.

=============================

Those who have no sense of irony, that Jesus is Irony Incarnate, don’t get the plot, and are always stuck on merely external indicators of religion. Too bad, that.

For instance, from the right, about all I’ve ever heard is that Jesus sanctified the waters by His presence, thus recalling the Fathers of the Church, that is, their shorthand way of speaking in homilies and sermons. The Fathers packed in much more than that, but so many of those on the right don’t want to go there. They might get the plot.

For instance, from the left, the filthy, filthy, filthy left, about all I ever heard is that Jesus went down to John’s baptism unto repentance for the forgiveness of sin because He was in fact a sinner and He knew it or at least wanted to look politically correct because everyone else was going down for the baptism.

Jesus, have mercy, bring us into your way of salvation, your self-sacrifice, your truth, your goodness and kindness. Amen.

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Homily 2019 01 03 Jesus’ Holy Name

Warning: The story I recount herein makes some people pretty upset with me, but the way I look at it, I’ve been mandated by Jesus to preach about Jesus, and if I cannot tell this story, rejoicing in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, then all is lost for my priesthood. Today, a great Army Colonel in our parish said that the guy who smashed me down the most for this shouldn’t have allowed me to preach in the first place if he didn’t want to hear about Jesus! I agree wholeheartedly. You’ve been warned.

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Lol! But then… Donkeys and Jesus

Donkeys, always with the Holy Family, know the entirety of the hell the Holy Family went through. Behold, the reality of a donkey with the Holy Family, with Mary being the Ark of The Covenant:

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I love it.

Mind you, if you think the donkey is scowling and is upset with his burden, no no, it’s not that way; instead, the donkey knows he’s on a forced journey bringing the Holy Family into exile in Egypt because of Herod murdering all the boys in Bethlehem in order to kill Jesus. The donkey, hardly upset with the Holy Family, is practicing his situational awareness. Gooood donkeeey!

This is my life while bringing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on my far flung Communion Calls to shut-ins, to those in Rehabs and Nursing Homes and Hospitals. I hope Jesus thinks I’m a gooood donkeeey! ;-)

And if anyone needs reminding about the great situational awareness of any good donkey, remember that donkeys are put in with flocks of sheep as they are superb at protecting the flock from predators. All priests should be gooood donkeeeys!

DONKEY FOX

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Today’s Politics of the Sistine Madonna UPDATE: What’s Raphael doing?

SISTINE MADONNA full

M.T. sent in a postcard sporting the Sistine Madonna by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael). The postcard itself arrived a bit damaged, as postcards do, so the above is a Wikipedia file.

I’m thankful for a reminder of the Sistine Madonna (with its wild history of locations both for the real painting and my mom’s copy) as it throws me fully into nostalgic mode. But that would be known from what I’ve written over the years. This was my mom’s favorite painting which always graced the “living room” of whatever house we lived in. Her copy looked like the real thing (to a kid like me) and was very elegantly framed. My mom made the frame and “antiqued” it. All very stately.

I would stand before this painting in wonder as a kid. It was my secret way to peek into heaven. There was heaven, right there, for all to see. How is it that the angels in the background allowed me to live. Even the angels are bored down front as they tolerate my presence. Did others see the treasures to be found here, in heaven? For me, these were mesmerizing sacred moments, so many, but always the same right through the years and in different houses: I would be racing about as a kid but then, in passing this painting, I would stop, instantly transported to the gates of heaven. Out of breath in my running. But absolutely still. “Look!” thought I, “There are all the angels!” straining as I was to see not so much the two angels out front, but the zillions in the background.

“Wow…” constituted the extent of my art appreciation at the time, though I imagine that that word was inscaped with more of a Hopkins’ umph than most grownup critics could ever muster with all their ulterior motives.

I remember being miffed that I didn’t know who Pope Sixtus was, or, as such a little kid, what his tiara was, and that I didn’t know who Saint Barbara was. But no matter. I happily gazed into the faces of Mary and her Son Jesus. M.T. shared his thoughts about these faces with me. I suppose I should return the favor with some of my own musings at this stage in my life.

SISTINE MADONNA detail

M.T. says he sees something “stern” in the face of Jesus. The way I myself would describe that is something of dread determination in the face of what is to come for Jesus during His life upon this earth, yet joy for what the result will finally be when He comes to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Jesus and His good mom are totally in solidarity with each other and mean to accomplish that which they set out to do for our redemption and salvation. But as with all such paintings, you have to follow the eyes, and in context. What’s said with just this detail is not wrong, but it’s all out of context. So, let’s move back to the full painting.

You’ll notice that young Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, is looking down at the two angels who entered heaven, as did she, by the right choice to follow the Son of Mary. We have to remember that about angels. They, like us, had to say “Yes!” They expect us to use our free will correctly as well.

You’ll notice that Sixtus is bidding Jesus and Mary to look out from heaven to those here upon the earth. It’s as if Sixtus is saying “Look at what they are saying about me!” with “they” referring to those at whom he is indiscriminately pointing. And Jesus is looking over him – indeed over the viewer of the painting – and Mary is scanning the crowd also in back of the viewer of the painting (her eyes just a bit askance). As Sixtus makes his complaint, Jesus has already gone through His passion and death, and has risen from the dead and has ascended into heaven. But here Sixtus is addressing Jesus as a child. That surely refers to what Sixtus is complaining about.

There was a vicious gossip columnist in Rome at the time – given no credence by anyone – who wrote about Sixtus in such manner – repeating without discernment all that he heard – that you would think that gossip guy is writing in late 2018, all stuff about interfering with kids and young men.

Again, back to Jesus and Mary: there’s a certain foreboding, a certain sorrow, but also and more importantly a certain joy for those who will make it to heaven. Note as well that Sixtus himself is canonized in the painting. He’s up in the clouds of heaven. Is protected by the bored angels who would happy to do some janitorial work over against enemies if called upon, and can speak with Jesus and Mary at will, and they are right with him. But the gossip? Horrible. But the truth? That’s what Raphael is painting.

Lots to think about there. To M.T.: Again, thanks for the postcard.

UPDATE: What’s Raphael doing?

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Homily 2018 09 14 – Cross’ Triumph… Cri-de-coeur for Irony Incarnate

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

This is my cri-de-coeur for an appreciation of irony, of Him who is Irony Incarnate.

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Of snakes and souvenirs

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There is a couple of miles high up in the mountains in which it is as likely as not to see a Timber Rattler, alive or dead, on the curvy simple road that is made of loose gravel sprayed with oil.

Locals have a penchant for running over snakes and turtles and anything else they can steer into perhaps without wrecking their vehicles in order to do so. As often as not, if it is a snake, especially a rattler, they’ll cut the head off, and the rattle, for souvenirs.

Jesus has His own souvenirs after His own encounter with the snake mentioned in Genesis 3:15. Jesus’ souvenirs are in the form of five wounds in hands and feet and in His side, His Heart. But Jesus otherwise doesn’t parade around a snake head or tail.

What a strange lot we are. But God loved the world so much that…

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Word order is important

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

  1. In the beginning was the Word
  2. And the Word was with God
  3. And God was the Word.

Linguistically, the order of the equation in number 3 makes no difference to the reality being stated, that the Word is Divine. But no one translates it this way: God was the Word. Indeed everyone goes apoplectic with my translation above. “No no!” they shout. “God is NOT the Word.” Don’t you know Philip, that the who sees me sees the Father?

The flow of the logic of John’s three assertions is that God, you know, um, like, GOD is the Word. He’s making a theological point.

I wouldn’t want to take terminal bus furiously asserting that God is NOT the Word.

After all, He is the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception and will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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“Thank God for persecution. It means Jesus still loves His Church.”

I told my friend in the Holy See that the Church in the United States is soon going to suffer a terrible persecution. He immediately responded: “Thank God for persecution. It means Jesus still loves His Church.” Indeed, as the Master, so the disciple. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

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“I’m a maggot and no man”

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This infestation of worms on a tree was seen yesterday near the hermitage. Disgusting you say? We were all like that in original sin. Jesus saw that and said, Hey! I’ll become like one of them, like a maggot and no man, and he came among us, a Worm among worms, the Innocent for the guilty, standing in our place, taking on the punishment we deserve, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Yep. It means He really loves us. A lot. Could you crawl into one of the worm webs? Do we thank Jesus enough? Think about it.

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It’s enough to ask: “What the hell is going on? Of what are we so afraid?”

consecration-

I remember putting this picture up a few years ago (I don’t know who so brilliantly created this) and then very quickly after that I think it was a seminarian who tweeted that this picture totally freaked him out, you know, with an attitude of one of those tender snowflakes who are entitled not to be educated about the reality of the way things actually are before God and man. He was really angry. Vindictive. He wanted to stop this in some way, in any way. It shouldn’t be allowed. What the hell was I doing he wondered, ever so bewildered.

In these days I see things that demonically attack the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Disgusting things. It’s enough to ask: “What the hell is going on?” Yep. I agree. There is an answer of course.

  • When’s the last time you heard your priest say that the Last Supper is united to Calvary in the self-sacrificing, totally self-giving wedding vows of Jesus with His Immaculate Bride, the Church, that the priest says in the first person singular: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, the chalice of my blood poured out for you in sacrifice?
  • When’s the last time you heard your priest say that Jesus laid down His life for us, He standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that He would have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, with mercy being founded, utterly, upon justice.

So, what are the laity supposed to think about the Mass if priests never speak to the reality of the Mass and the Most Blessed Sacrament?

So, what are seminarians supposed to think about the Mass if they have never had any of this presented to them in their training?

We need to stand up to total ignorance and teach the truth and insist that priests teach the truth about the love of God which demands honesty, integrity, goodness and kindness and TRUTH. Anything less leads to utter mayhem and immorality.

We want Jesus! We want to thank Him for laying down His life us, for redeeming us, for forgiving our sins, for bringing us to life. We do NOT want to be confirmed in sin, have rationalizations given to us for sin, or be pushed into sin.

Instruct your priests. Demand that they preach the living Truth of the Son of the Living God.

Be not afraid!

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Always Jesus. Always. No matter what. Yep.

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The day Immaculate Mary died. Ecumenism between East and West.

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One of our Russian readers sent this in. You can see the Apostles gathered about the tomb of Jesus’ good mom. But because the grave could not hold her, she the was herself resurrected from the dead and assumed soul and body into heaven.

It’s always been a tradition in the East that the ever Virgin Mary died. There have been some in the West who, instead, stupidly said that – splutter splutter – Mary could not have died because she was not subject to original sin and therefore could not have died and anyone who says differently is a heretic and should be dismembered and burned at the stake. Um… well… I say differently.

Jesus died. He’s God. He’s never been affected by original sin. He never sinned. The grave could not hold the author of life just because He stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, death, so that He could have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Right? Let’s take a look at how He died.

In Luke’s Gospel we read that Jesus sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, at that moment standing in our place, obeying the will of our Heavenly Father. In John’s Gospel we read that blood and water flowed out of Jesus’ side, His heart, when the soldier pierced Him with his Roman sword. This shows up on the Shroud of Turin by the way. Anyway, the doctors of Calvary, as they are called, say that in a most traumatic incident, a subject can sweat great drops of blood, but in conjunction with a massive heart attack, itself to traumatic that the pericardium, the outside portion of the heart, actually breaks, from one dies immediately or can survive for just some time. In Jesus’ case, this pericardium filled with blood which itself separated into red blood cells and plasma, the blood and water. Pilot was surprised at Jesus’ early death, as crucifixion usually took three days. Jesus’ trauma was exacerbated by the torture and crucifixion. We can say that He died more of a broken heart for us, literally, than the crucifixion.

Now, take Mary’s case. If she were subject to original sin, she would, like us, be so blinded to the reality of God laying down His life for us that we would just feel sorrowful for this, but be almost totally oblivious to what this means. She, instead, Immaculate, had purity of heart, agility of soul, clarity of vision. She knew that what she was seeing was God’s great love for us in the midst of our ingratitude. It’s not because she was sinful or subject to original sin that she was knew death. It’s because she was crushed, as a good mother, by the traumatic incident she went through in solidarity with her Son. I believe that she also sweat great drops of blood, that she also suffered such a massive heart attack. She survived, but, as Tradition has it, appropriately, only until immediately after the full birth of the Church at Pentecost. She had done all she could as Jesus’ mother and ours. Now it was time for one who gave Jesus His body to be brought herself soul and body to heaven, just like Him.

  • Jesus: If you love me you will rejoice that I am going to the Father.
  • Mary’s kids: If we love her we rejoice that she has gone to heaven.

A couple of points…

  • We can learn from each other, you know, East and West. Instead of hyperventilating so as, we think, to protect some doctrine, perhaps instead we should go to Jesus. Perhaps we can learn from Him. In this case we learn that Mary could certainly die and this fact not being offensive to our holding that Mary was never touched by original sin.
  • And, just to say, this post is misnamed. I believe this is not about ecumenism. The excommunications have been absolved by both sides. Take out the “ex-” and you are left with “communion.” Right?

Our problem today and every day is that we forget about Jesus and His good mom. We are more concerned about hyperventilating because that’s what we do. We’re just so afraid of Jesus being a good Son of Mary Immaculate. We’re just so afraid of Mary being such a good mother to Jesus and to all of us.

Saint John Paul II’s favorite citation of Mary’s Son Jesus was: “Be not afraid!”

BE NOT AFRAID!

 

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Why some exorcisms fail

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The other night, coming back from the day-off, very near the hermitage, I once again encountered a magnificent Timber Rattler. Screech! Sassy the Subaru’s brakes work most excellently. Out on to the road I popped with telephone camera in hand. I kept about eight feet away as he was ready to spring into action. I took a couple of pictures, and then a car came. I put Sassy into gear and carefully, deliberately, exaggeratedly drove around our snake friend, hoping the crowd in the car behind me would take note of the nice snake and drive around this wonder of nature. Instead, they very slowly and deliberately drove over him, thinking they had accomplished something.

And this is exactly why some exorcisms fail: because of pride, because of attacking Satan directly under one’s own (lack of) wherewithal, in one’s own name, not in the Holy Name of Jesus, but still thinking one has accomplished something.

This is a mind-game with Satan on his own terms, on his own turf. He will be happy to make one think that he has been thrown out, only to come back in a more insidious way. Jesus Himself speaks of this kind of stupidity. This is a seven-fold failure, a perfect fail.

We must go about our entire lives not with self-absorbed mind-games, not with self-referential ways and means, not with the darkness and blindness of pride, but instead through grace received in humility, we are to walk in the presence of Jesus, who is Himself our Savior:

  • NOT an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in my own name!”
  • TRULY an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in the Holy Name of Jesus!”

There’s a huge difference. It’s the same with authority, which one must have:

  • NOT an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in my own name and under my own authority because I don’t care what Jesus’ Church has to say about it!”
  • TRULY an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in the Holy Name of Jesus and with the express mandate to do so as given by my bishop!”

Again, the exorcist who works under his own authority may seem to have great success baiting him into thinking that he is right to buck the authority Jesus Himself gave to His own Church. The disobedient exorcist may think he is himself most charitable, a martyr of charity. No. Satan will come back in more insidious ways, destroying peoples’ lives all the more effectively.

The upshot in our own lives: We are not to attack Satan directly. We are not to attack sin directly. Yes, we are to make a firm purpose of amendment, avoid occasions of sin, get out of an occasion of sin should we find ourselves in such, all the normal, traditional things. Yep.

BUT! But we are NOT to make it all about us, about how powerful and great we are, because we not that. Instead, we are to call on Saint Michael, on our guardian angels, and do this with humility. We are to be humbly thankful to Jesus for coming into this fallen world to grab us and bring us to heaven, because, wow, it’s so obvious we need saving and it’s He that is our Savior, NOT us. The person who says: “I’m doing well now!” is the person who will fall almost immediately. We cast out Satan and sin by Jesus drawing us into friendship with Himself, by being in humble reverence, thankful, in friendship, before Jesus, confident of His love for us, of His immediate care for us.

Jesus said that we cannot, will not enter the kingdom of heaven if we are not like little children before our heavenly Father. Little kids don’t count on themselves to be saved. They look with confidence to others, and in the cases above, to Jesus. Jesus saves us from Satan. Jesus leads us into a true life of prayer, to walk in His presence, even in the most trying of circumstances. Thank you Jesus.

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Calling people names? WWJD? Hah!

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said:

“Name calling ends the conversation. It is rude. It is counterproductive. It’s not what Jesus would do. It’s not what the saints would do. It is not Christian. It’s plain mean. It makes for enemies, not consensus.”

However, name calling can be a good and holy thing, so that, even though it is hurtful to pride and emotions, it just may be an occasion to assist someone in the salvation of their souls. Having hurt pride or hurt emotions is nothing compared to suffering eternal damnation, or being in purgatory for any length of time at all. Take note that this charitable aspect of some name-calling is to be found in the Sacred Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit, both in Old and New Testaments. Take note, in particular, of the Gospel of Matthew, where we find the holy name-calling of the greatest of all the prophets, John the Baptist (3:7-12 – rsv), he being a saint, with his name-calling geared to repentance and salvation of souls. Mind you, he does this precisely as the forerunner of Jesus:

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Sometimes, this greatest of prophets is called an old meanie, and dismissable with the anti-Semitic statement that he is merely Old Testament, full of justice lacking mercy (which is not justice), so that there is then an insistence that Jesus, instead, was nice. Let’s recall some name-calling wrought by Jesus Himself (Matthew 23:13-38 – rsv):

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, `If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity.

You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.

I remember a priest, many, actually, who said:

“We are now beyond John. We are now beyond Jesus. They were then. We’re now. We better because we live today. We are a post-Ascension New Testament people. So, let’s see if post-Ascension Saint Paul was shy about name-calling (Romans 1:18-32):

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.

They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

Whew! Saint Paul says such things not because he is hateful, or “homophobic”, but because he loves all and is in anguish that all be saved, if possible. Recall his success in this new evangelization (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – nab):

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

So, can name-calling be charitable? Indeed. It can be a spiritual work of mercy essential to the new evangelization.

Saint John the Baptist and Jesus Himself turned the world upside down for the greater honor and glory of God. Turning the world upside down is not an evil, but can be a great good, done with all goodness and kindness, even if some are — hopefully only temporarily — infuriated. The entire history of salvation is loaded with glorious saints who turned the world upside down.

But what about CIC 220, you might ask, about the right of others to a good name. Yes, well, sometimes that good name was forfeited by these others by the very public actions and/or statements that they have made, so that corrective measures need to be taken, even and perhaps especially when this is not done but should be done by those who are more appropriate for the task.

O.K., but can’t there be a different, you know, nicer way to go about things, more civilized, more, well, NICE? I’ll answer that question if you can answer me these two questions: Was John sent from God, yes or no? Was Jesus sent from God, yes or no?

Is there a danger about the hypocrisy of a splinter in someone else’s eye while we have a beam in our own eyes? Yes, Jesus warned us about this as well. Some think that since we have all of us, you, me, all of us, put Jesus to death with our sins, that we cannot ever reprimand someone else. But this is just a bit too convenient. With full recognition of our own unworthiness, we can surely do this spiritual work of mercy. We had just better not forget how weak we ourselves are. Recall the frightening and yet hopeful words of Ezekiel 3,18-21 (nab):

If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life. If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die. He shall die for his sin, and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death if you did not warn him. When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin, and he has in fact not sinned, he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life.

Having said all that, in the end, we are supposed to call ourselves names, like “sinner”, in confession. Confession is great. It is there that we meet with a potential part of the virtue of justice, that is, mercy, as the Common Doctor says in his commentary on the sentences. Don’t delay. I love going to confession. Because I’m such a sinner. But Jesus is very good, very kind, providing us the grace to be innocent as doves, though as clever as serpents.

“Oh, but, Father George, that’s very nice as a clever study and all, but we must be prudent and actually nice to people. You get more flies with honey than with fly swatters. Calling people names takes you out of the discussion. It proves you have nothing to say, no argumentation.”

Review the name calling above, including the one about hypocrites. This is logical name calling, entirely different from, say, four letter words. We have to take people seriously and point out to them that they are on the wrong path (making sure we are repentant of anything wrong in our own lives, of course).

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