04 May 2024

They hate us b/c they hate Him

5th Week of Easter (S)

Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP
St. Albert the Great, Irving

Why does the world hate us? We answer that question by answering another: why does the world hate Christ? Simply put: the world hates Christ b/c he is everything the world isn't. Selfless love, abundant mercy, fervent hope, and the only means of rescue from sin and death. For the world, hatred, revenge, despair, disobedience, and death are all means of gaining and maintaining power over others. The world manages its slaves through fear, jealousy, envy, and wrath. And it knows that it must keep its slaves hypnotized with the perishable things under its control: food, sex, drink, entertainment, drugs, and violence. When the disordered abuse of these things isn't enough to corral the mob, the world can always turn to racial and ethnic strife; political bickering; ideological manipulation; and good, old-fashioned lying and propaganda. The world – as it shows itself – is based on an illusion: that what is fundamentally perishable can be made imperishable through power. IOW, with the accumulation of wealth and influence, all temporary things can be made permanent. Creatures can be their own creators. Christ's arrival into human history broke that illusion, pulled back the curtain on The Lie and reminded his brothers and sisters that we do not belong to the world; therefore, the world cannot/will not love us. What motives the world's delusion-to-power and control is the fact that it does not believe in the One Who sent the Christ. It can't believe in the One Who sent the Christ b/c if it did, then it wouldn't be the world. It would be of Christ, a participant in the transcendental life of the Blessed Trinity. There would be no necessity in its hatred for Christ and his holy family. Since we are participants in the life of Divine Love, our mission is to be signposts/witnesses/examples of divine love over and against the lies of the world; that is, we are counterexamples to the world's illusion of power. Mercy is not power. Love is not power. Hope and faith and forgiveness are not power. These are all divine gifts freely given to be freely re-gifted to anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see. And b/c we are engines of grace in a world drunk on deception, we are hated. Our response cannot be to hate in turn. We can't hate the world b/c our job is to save the world. You cannot hate what you are bound to save. Therefore, know that The Boss was persecuted first and take whatever persecution you may suffer as a sign that you are doing your job well.

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03 May 2024

THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life

Ss. Philip and James

Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP
Serra Club, Irving

Can it be any clearer: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”? This truth is what we have given our lives to. There is no salvation through any other name except Christ Jesus. Not sociology, psychology, or philosophy. Not the Republican Party or the NRA or socialism or capitalism or the Democrats or the State or social justice or racial purity or feminism or holding and professing whatever the currently correct ideology happens to be. We hold and profess the Apostolic Faith, a faith that transcends politics and cultures and nations, leading us to our ultimate end – God in heaven and our place at His table. The pressure to worship the idols of this age is tremendous. We see it everyday. And this is nothing new. Our ancestors in faith were pressured to swear allegiance to race, to politics, to ethnicity, to gender, and a myriad of others gods that cannot save. The apostles were sent to proclaim a simple message: Christ Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Anything beyond this, anything other than this is a lie. We preach the truth. Jesus Christ and he alone is our salvation. Do you live this truth day in and day out, all day, everyday? If you were asked, “Can belonging to a political party save me?” I have no doubt every one in this chapel would say, “No. Absolutely not.” Can holding a particular philosophical or theological position save me? No. Can simply being an American or a Mexican or a Canadian save me? No. We get that. We understand – intellectually – that nothing created can save us. But when the rubber hits the road and we're flying along through our day, how often do we fall back on the habit of thinking that something created, something made will bring us to the Wedding Feast? We can – if we're not diligent – cling fast to the things of the world, believing that they will give us strength and purpose. Praying for priestly vocations is an immensely important and praiseworthy ministry. But it won't save you. Teaching seminarians and serving as their SD is important and praiseworthy as well. But it won't save me. We pray for vocations and teach seminarians because we know and believe that Christ Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We start there – with the truth – and then work our way out to ministry, politics, philosophy, and whatever else we have to deal with day to day. We start with Christ, stay with Christ, end with Christ, and belong to him and with him always and everywhere in all circumstances, never wavering in our trust that he and he alone can and will bring us fully into the Father's presence.

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