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28th Sunday. Who do you Trust?

JMJ

Our first reading today is from the Book of Wisdom. It was written by an unknown author about a hundred years before Christ. He sometimes writes in the voice of King Solomon who had the reputation of being one of the wisest men who ever lived. We still speak of The Wisdom of Solomon today in describing some of the wisest among us.

Let’s begin with a definition. Wisdom is more than intelligence, or cleverness, or skill. It has nothing to do with letters after a person’s name.

Wisdom is Knowledge of the Truth.

But it has to be more than that; it also has to be obedience to the truth. The father who preaches to his son had better practice what he preaches or else he risks being labeled a hypocrite.

Jesus once told the apostles , “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. And on his last day appeared before the Roman procurator and announced that he had come to bear witness to the truth. Pilate replied with his famous question: “ And what is truth?”

Now be honest, don’t we sometimes find ourselves relating to his sarcastic reply with our own sense of sarcasm. Yes, the truth can be hard to find. Many intelligent, eloquent, sophisticated celebrities, teachers, philosophers, and commentators, exert their influence on us, but in the end, who can you trust to tell you the truth?

 

So, Who do you Trust? Who do YOU trust? That’s the big question for today. And behind it all is the question of …..who do you trust to tell you the truth? Where do we go for the truth?

Is there someone out there who is so wise so as to be trusted to tell us the truth? Am I wise? Do you trust me up here? Or for that matter, can I trust you? Some of you try to exert influence on me.

But I would contend that all of us have been most deeply affected by the media in our search for the truth. Many movies and TV shows have exerted an influence on our lives, starting at a very early age, helping us, for better or for worse, to form our world view, our philosophy, and our belief system.

But are they wise? Can we trust the media to tell us the truth? And are we wise enough to discern the truth from a lie…… or an error?

 

For better or for worse , this past week I was “influenced” by several forms of media.

Last Sunday, I trusted Fr. Richard’s taste in movies. We went to see The Martian. Pretty good. Surprisingly, despite it being a movie high on science, it was also a “God-friendly” movie. An astronaut gets stranded on Mars and guess what? He has a crucifix with him. A BIG one. And he prays for God’s help to get out of his mess. I won’t tell you if God answers his prayer. I wouldn’t wanna spoil it for you.

 

Next, I found this CD on our Lighthouse Media rack down the hall. I was attracted by the picture of a nun on the cover. Sister Miriam. The title is The Making of a Jewish Nun. Sister Miriam is the former Rosalind Moss. You might be familiar with her story from EWTN.

In her search for the truth she lost the Jewish faith of her childhood. She became an agnostic. She felt God was unknowable. She was on the verge of despair when she fell under the influence of a group called Jews for Jesus. She became a Christian. And then, later, much to her surprise, and dismay, she was eventually drawn to the truth and wisdom of the Catholic Church.

She was surprised and dismayed because she had actually become anti-Catholic. Her new Christian friends did not speak kindly of us.

Finally, Rosalind experienced a call to become a nun and then even founded a religious community in Oklahoma. An incredible story. You should look up her story on YouTube where she speaks with convert Marcus Grodi on that show on EWTN called The Journey Home. It presents the tales of those who find their way back…… to the one and only Church founded by Jesus.

But I wanted to say that…. I trust Sister Miriam. I think she is wise, and I think she speaks the truth, in sincerity.

And speaking of The Journey Home, I sent a “push notification” this past week to those of you who have our Parish App to remind you watch the show. Our very own Director of Religious Education, Kurt Hoover, was a guest and told of how he came into the truth of Catholic Church.

It all began for him when he went to his first Catholic mass. He was blown away by the reverence, the beauty, the mystery, the Eucharist.

I trust Kurt too. After all, I hired him. And he gave Holy Spirit a plug at the end of his talk.

Finally, I found this on the door of my office. Anonymous. No name. It was shrink-wrapped so I thought it might have been a souvenir of the Pope’s visit. It has a nice picture of our him waving to us. Well, I plugged it in and before too long realized….. it was not quite what I thought it was.

It was a DVD talk by a Reverend Steven Bohr, a Protestant pastor, from Fresno, California. I never heard of him. But he was obviously very smart. He seemed quite knowledgeable. A very good speaker. Animated. ( I think he wore a toupee) But he really knew his bible. His topic was, A Day to Remember. It was about the Sabbath. And how to keep it holy.

He reminded us that it was one of the Ten Commandments, written on a tablet by the finger of God Himself, and given to all of us, through Moses. But interestingly, his final conclusion was that the overwhelming majority of Christians go to church on the wrong day.

Most go on Sunday, (or a Saturday evening), but he tells us that God never gave us permission to change the day. I presume his congregation out in Fresno is doing it the right way.

But, to the uninformed, or poorly taught Christian, I’m sure the pastor may have scored some points. People would scratch their heads and wonder; This guy seems pretty smart. Did we somehow get it wrong and start worshipping God on Sunday when it should begin at sunset on Friday and go to Saturday night, which is way the ancient Jews did it, as God told them to do?

You know that many Catholics have been persuaded by the so-called “wisdom” of eloquent and dynamic preachers like Pastor Steve, and have sought the truth in other places, finding themselves worshipping in one of the over 36,000 different protesting denominations that have come into being since Martin Luther.

So, for Your Information, should you need it, I’d like to make two points here/

Like many non-Catholic pastors, Reverend Bohr is somewhat selective in choosing his scripture passages and in his interpretation of them. And he of course, states that the bible is the only source of truth. Not tradition.

Today’s second reading from The Letter to the Hebrews identifies scripture as “the Word of God, living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword.” And so it is. But tradition precedes the printed page of the bible.

The words in any Bible were first spoken, and preached, and lived out before any were ever printed on a page. It all came from the Church. ( Capital C) The Catholic Church gave us the bible.

The Church has also been given authority. “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build MY Church”. And as for you Peter, and the others, “whatever you declare bound on earth, will be bound in heaven. Whatever you declare loosed on earth, will be loosed in heaven.”

And, “whoever hears you, hears me, and whoever hears me, hears the one who sent me.” God speaks through His Church, which has been entrusted to Peter and his successors.

Who do we trust? We go to the Church for the Truth. In matters of Faith and Morals, I think it can be trusted.

I sat through a full two hours of Pastor Bohr’s DVD and, as the time passed, I became more curious about why Pope Francis made the cover. I had some suspicions. And soon it became clear. He was anti-Catholic.

Of course, I’m also curious about why this disc made it to my door. Who put it there? Was it one of you? Or was Pastor Bohr perhaps passing through the neighborhood and simply dropped it off as a little gift for me? In either case, don’t think I can trust either one of you. Sorry.

But if it was one of you, and you knew what was on the disc, what then, may I ask, do you believe about the current pope? I’ve been told that there are some Catholics that do indeed believe that Francis is the anti-Christ.

Well, if he is, then teaching of the Catholic Church has indeed been wrong for 2000 years, and we’re just another one of those 36,000 denominations, and we might as well throw up our hands, throw in the towel, and go out for dinner.

Who do you trust? I want to avoid any sense of Triumphalism here because really, it is only by the grace of God that any of us find ourselves here and not somewhere else.

Jesus, I trust in you. I really believe that you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. And I do believe, as you told Pilate, that you came to bear witness to the truth,

And I do believe that you gave us a Church and entrusted it to Peter and his successors, and assured us that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

And I believe you promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead your Church to all truth.

Now, trust me in this, but I just want to re-assure all of you then, that His Church speaks with wisdom, and authority, and that it can indeed be trusted.

So who do you trust? I hope I have spoken wisdom to you today,

And I hope you can trust me when I say these things?

Check out the Rosalind Moss( Sister Miriam) conversion story on our Links Section.

 

 

 

 

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