From the Pastor – January 31, 2016

masstime.usAnd all spoke highly of Jesus and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. (Lk 4:22 & Lk 4:28-30)

What happened here? These are two different parts of the 4th chapter of Luke’s Gospel separated by only 5 verses. In the first section, the people are rapt by the beautiful words of Jesus, and in the second they are so angered as to want to kill Him. What provoked that? What caused their attitude to change? Actually, it was a strong statement of Jesus about what had happened with prophets that had come before Him. The people didn’t want to hear that. And that change in attitude reminds us of the changing attitudes of the people of Jerusalem from Palm Sunday (when He is praised) to Good Friday (when He is crucified).

Is it any wonder that the Church faces the same attitudes? As long as the Church is engaged in charitable activity, then it is extolled. When the Church is giving food to the poor, visiting the sick and sheltering the homeless, there’s no problem. But when the Church begins to preach the Gospel of Christ, it gets into the same trouble that Christ got into. People want it to go away. Many in society don’t want to hear how abortion is wrong, and how marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. Many in society disagree with the Church on birth control and don’t see a problem with extra-marital intercourse. Many don’t have a problem with divorce and remarriage. Many want the Church to change its position on an all-male priesthood and priestly celibacy. Many don’t appreciate a Church that abhors war and rejects the death penalty in most cases.

The truth is that all of us are in need of conversion. When we hear a teaching of the Church with which we disagree, it should make us think that perhaps that is the area in which Christ is calling us to convert. Although the Church is heavily engaged in the corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned & burying the dead), the Great Commission given by Christ to the Apostles was to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20). And that is the activity in which the Church is engaged. It preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ – in and out of season. And sometimes it is criticized for doing so. But we shouldn’t ever be surprised by persecutions of the Church. Our founder is Jesus Christ, the persecuted Son of God. But we should always be careful to avoid being one of the persecutors! new orleans mass times
Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty