- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 9, 2018

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO

23 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Thus says the Lord; “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you.’

Tuesday, September 11th, will be the seventeenth anniversary of what the whole world knows as “9/11” It was a watershed moment our country and there is no going back. I think we, in the Church are living through on such watershed moment which will be known as the summer of 2018. We have been hit with a tsunami. In the past, all this would be have been a local problem and contained. But today with modern communications it has gone global and viral. What it has done for sure is shatter trust in the hierarchy of the Church from priests, to bishops and even the Pope. We are living through some very confusing and difficult times.

That leaves all of us here – sitting amidst the ruins. What are we to do? I believe and it might not sound very convincing when we are all outraged, depressed, ashamed, yet I believe we should never despair. This is the invisible battle that is being waged even now for our souls. I know it is not politically correct to blame the devil. But lets face it – the devil is the mortal enemy of the Church. The end game of the Devil is not the scandals. The scandals are his means to the one end, to kill our souls and finish up the Church because we are the Church. Fear, despair and unbelief are his secret weapons. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Faith and hope – they are our lifelines to God in the darkness.

The other thing is to avoid being so consumed by what has happened that we stop praying and look for one stop solutions. The bishops should all resign, suppress the Jesuits, close down all the seminaries, the Pope should resign.

If we are going to do anything about all this – we should first start praying. Because only God can change hearts. We hang ‘em or lock ‘em up. But God sent His only Son to die for sinners. This is how God changes hearts. What has happened is not just a sociological problem or an ideological problem or a political problem. This is a theological problem – sin. And sin is not going to be solved by writing more policies and firings. Sin can only be opposed by people like us who pray and fast for the conversion of sinners.

I believe these are the spiritual weapons that are the most powerful ones in these times. If the Church were another organization like Apple or Google we could safely predict that it would crumble soon. But the Church has come forth from the pierced side of the Son of God Himself. This is why in the Creed – we do not say I believe that there is a Catholic Church but I believe in the holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At this time this is our anchor. The Church is supernatural. She is made up of sinners but Her Head is the Son of God Himself. Her soul is the Holy Spirit Himself. This is why we have sinners and saints who co-exist in the Church. And in this summer of 2018 where the sinners have the spotlight, let us not forget the saints. How many organizations you know can produce saints. One sign that the Church is supernatural is that She produces saints and continues to produce saints. This is a time for saints and a time that produces saints.

Finally I believe one of the great ‘holes’ in our times is that we seem to have forgotten the Mother of God. It is as if we have consigned her to a small corner of the church, paying her lip service but not much more. Mary has crushed the head of the serpent. I think we should turn more to her and ask Her supernatural help against the Ancient Serpent. Our battle as I said is no simple one – it is not just against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities in the high places. But the victory has been won by Christ Jesus – for us today the words of Isaiah have come true ‘Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you.’