Wednesday, October 01, 2008

20th Sunday after Pentecost 28.9.08 Sermon

20th Sunday after Pentecost 28.9.08 Redeeming the age

This may be a wicked age but your lives should redeem it...(Epistle, Eph 5). We frequently find ourselves in the minority if we are to be serious disciples of Our Lord.

It may be you are the only person in your family or workplace or club etc that is fully practising and believing the faith.

Then, when we confront the tides of public opinion we find that we are likely to be cast as one extreme, while everyone else is more ‘balanced’.

We must hold firm, realizing that it has ever been so. Even in ages when nominally Catholicism was the dominant religion there were still a much smaller number who would take the faith seriously.

If we do take it seriously we will begin this process of ‘redeeming the age’.

The spread of the faith has always been a matter of one person convincing another of the truth of the Gospel. This can be done partly by words, partly by action.

The words we speak invite all to have hope. There is wickedness about, but it does not have to be so. We can do things differently and do them better.

The actions we do – well, it helps if we can work miracles, but most of us cannot. So the next best thing, (or really the best thing) is to live good lives. To walk in the light of Christ and thus show the world how this religion is meant to work.

If enough people did this others would follow. It seems so far that it is very rare to have the majority of any population really switched-on to the faith.

No matter, we work with what we have. We may be few in number; we work all the harder.
Our history abounds with stories of the apparently weak taking on the apparently strong and winning.

From David and Goliath through to Mother Teresa, the one who puts his trust in God will have the strength and will win the battles.

We are weak now if we consider the numbers. We are just ones and twos here and there, battling against a flood of secularism, and within our Church an easygoing understanding of salvation which presumes it is easy to get to heaven.

As a result there are very few who see the need for repentance, fasting, atonement, the urgency of conversion. Those who do see it must be all the more energetic in telling and acting the message.
With God’s grace to assist us a few can conquer the many and bring the world (for the first time) to the kind of conditions prophesied in Isaiah (the readings we use around Advent and Christmas).

In any event, succeed or fail, we must still do what is right. If I am the last Catholic left alive I must still do the same things as I am doing now.

Always pray, believe, trust, work and thus exert an influence on the surrounding population and culture.

Learn the Church teachings, learn to defend them, learn the way other people think and why they are wrong (eg pro abortion, pro legalized prostitution).

Pray for the courage to be different from those around us. We don’t have to be one of the crowd, and cannot afford to be in these times.

Different not because you have green hair or wear outrageous clothes, but because you follow Christ, in letter and spirit. You are one of the few who do not ignore or insult Him, who do not try to tone down His teachings.

Some of our number have even died for Him. A powerful witness, and one that does not end with the person’s death.

We pray that we grow in numbers; in any event that we grow in faith and commitment. We believe these things to such a point that we cannot not make known the wonders we have seen.