Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"What is truth?" The Sermon of Fr. John Trough for the Feast of The Circumcision

First of all, I want to wish all of you a very happy and blessed New Year for you and your families and today is the Octave day of the Nativity, the feast of the Circumcision. At first glance, we may ask ourselves why the Church has us celebrate such an occasion of Our Lord and to get the answer we have to open up our Bibles and look in the Old Testament. We go back to the first book, the book of Genesis, and we go back to Abraham. Abraham, if we remember our Bible history, lived in an area called Ur and it was near present day Iraq. God one day asked him and his wife to move to the mount of Chanaan and that’s present day Israel, that’s quite a distance. He was given a promise from God that “Your descendents would be numerous like the stars in the heavens. There were couple of interesting obstacles, first of all they were past childbearing age and Sara, his wife, was well beyond menopause into her 90’s and Abraham was in his 100’s before they finally had their first child, obviously a miracle from Almighty God. But during this time God, as he was giving them his covenant, he gave them a commandment that every male that is going to be of the Hebrew race had to be circumcised and that was a sign, an external sign, to show that a man was dedicated to the Lord, that he was a member of the Hebrew race, that he was part of the inheritance of Israel. So the feast of the circumcision of a baby boy was a great occasion and it is normally done on the eighth day after birth. Even today, amongst the Jews, there’s a man with a minister of sorts who performs circumcisions and it is a big ceremony. So today, we celebrate the Circumcision of Jesus Christ.

It’s interesting because he’s the author of the Hebrew law and he is not saying: “Well, I’m the author and I don’t have to be subject to the law because I’m the author of the law.” No, he even subjects himself to his own law, how admirable that is. He appears in the temple for the first time as an infant and we know that Jesus had the full usage of his reason, it is only gradually, as he grew older, which he revealed more of what he actually knew. He goes in the temple and in spirit he says: “Heavenly Father, here I am to publicly reveal myself and that I am ready to do your will.” Even as a little baby boy was he ready to do the Heavenly Father’s will and it is on a day like today that he shows us that he is the Truth, he is a messenger of the truth.

Think of the times, the dark times, which Our Lord was born in. The Romans at this time were getting their kicks from standing in a big auditorium called the Coliseum, still there, (I’ve never been there, hopefully someday I’ll get to go there). But in this big Coliseum they would watch for fun a couple of guys hacking it out to the death. They were entertained by the shedding of blood, pretty gruesome. Later on, when Christianity was taking its hold on the hearts of men, they would watch Christians being torn to bits by hungry lions and tigers and bears. Those beasts were purposely starved for that reason, so they would be hungrier when they would be let loose upon these Christians and the crowds would cheer and clap and were even given free bread as a way to get the Romans to come and watch. That’s pretty sick, downright sick.

On top of that, the Roman Empire and other empires conquered and defeated lands and nations for the only purposes of greed and lust. Having more taxes, more territories to occupy for that reason alone. People were subject to idolatry, when we know from our human reason that there is a creator a one creator and instead of worshiping him, they worshiped idols, stones and statues. And we can see that the times in which Jesus came were pretty dark. We read in the Last Gospel at the end of Mass, he is the light that comes into the world and the darkness did not know it. It did not grasp the light. This is very relevant even in our own day. What makes it scary is that in our own day, we know of Jesus Christ, we know his message and we see society turn its back on Christ. What is truth? Is truth like a way a society would like to think it? As to when it comes to religion that “All religions are all right, we’re all okay.” If one person says it’s red, another person says it’s black and another says it’s pink or green, we’re all right, we’re all going to heaven, no problem. This is NOT what truth is. Because 2 + 2 = 4 for anyone and so truth is not subjective or irrelative, this is something that society preaches nowadays that truth is irrelative, so therefore there is really no absolute truth, it’s whatever you think is true and it’s true for you and that’s good enough. That’s not Christ’s message.

Truth is outside of ourselves, it’s not what we think, it’s what exists outside of ourselves and God is saying: “I am that truth!” Now think of the time at the Last Supper. Jesus is speaking to his Apostles and he’s telling them that he is going to soon go to heaven and they weren’t sure what he was talking about, he was about to suffer his Passion, he instituted the Sacrifice of Mass at the Last Supper: take ye and eat, take and drink of this, this is the cup of my blood, the new Testament, which will be shed for sins. It is on this occasion that he’s saying that he is going to heaven and prepare a mansion, there are many mansions in heaven, and he’s basically saying: “I’m going to prepare a place for you and that you do know the way.” St. Thomas, comes in at this time and says: “Lord, we do not know where you are going and how can we know the way?” Jesus then responds: “I am the way, the truth and the light.” So there is ultimate truth and this truth can only be found as we can see through the four marks of the Church. It is only through the Church that his message of truth is brought to us.

It is relative because today people belief the false notion of: “It doesn’t matter what you believe, we are all going to heaven.” We know that is not how it’s going to be. As we continue for every day life, we know that we are weak and as human beings we fall, which is why we come to Mass to be absolved of our sins in the confessional, to come to the communion rail to be strengthened and fortified by the precious body and blood of Jesus. Your torch, if it has been blown out, can be rekindled and that you will go from here into this dark world and show to men what the truth is. It is Christ. Even if it is as simple as making the sign of the cross before you eat your meal at a restaurant or wearing your scapular, not being afraid to wear it, keeping your rosary in your pocket. We don’t necessarily have to shake our heads and be panty-waists about it, all it means is that we have to manly stand up for what we believe. The modernists and pagans and people who boast about their escapades and stuff, are going to be so bold to preach about what they do, why can’t we, who are messengers and heralds of the truth in today’s modern world, why should we not be afraid? Why shouldn’t we be courageous to preach the same message that Catholics in the past have and shed their blood for it? There is no reason why we should be afraid. We receive the same sacraments that they received then.

I read one little interesting caption recently: “If they were right then, we are right now. If they were wrong then, we are wrong now.” And we are exactly as they were then. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: “Right is right when everybody is wrong, wrong is wrong, when everybody is right.” We know being Catholic, especially being Traditional Catholic, is not popular. The Modern Church is the herald of this new one-world religion where it doesn’t matter what you believe. If you don’t believe me, you can look it up in the Vatican II documents yourself. Let us not be afraid of the truth, remember as we celebrate the Circumcision of Christ, Christ comes out and says, “I am that truth. If you stick by my side, you’ll make it to heaven. Not through Buddha, not through Mohammed, not through any other man-made or false sense of Christianity that we can go to heaven, it is only through Christ and His Church. Don’t be like Pilate. Think about what Pilate did. Pilate, seeing Jesus Christ being bound with cords, stood before him and said: “Are you a King? People say your are a King.” Jesus says to him “Yes, I am a King, you have said it. For this I was born and for this came I into the world that I shall give testimony to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth heareth my voice.” What did Pilate say? “What is truth?” Pilate was one of these people who didn’t know, truth is whatever you think it is.

Truth is objective, truth is Almighty God, that he exists and we have to humble ourselves before the truth and worship him and love him. Pilate even took Jesus out to the crowds and said “I have found no wrongdoing in him.” But he buckled under the weight of embarrassment, went along with the crowd, afraid to stand up, and had Jesus whipped, scourged and crucified. Every time we’re afraid to stand up for what is right we become like Pilate. “I’m too afraid what people think of me.” That’s not what truth is about.

As we continue our Mass remember that you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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