January 29, 2006
vol. 17, no. 16
"There Arose a Great Storm" |
Matthew 8: 24
So saith the Scriptures: Only Jesus Christ can save us and only through the Grace of the Holy Ghost and the guidelines our Lord left us (His Church) will the lifeboats to Heaven (the True Sacraments) be available to those who believe and follow the Father's Will.
"We must learn that our salvation is from the Lord alone. St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, spoke the truth about Jesus Christ clearly: 'Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:12)."
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany, he cites today's Gospel as a wake-up call to all who don't seem to think we are perishing. The Apostles were afraid of losing their lives in the all-engulfing sea, but so many today, especially those who call themselves 'Catholic' (but don't act or speak like Catholics) think there is nothing to be afraid of, that no matter their sinful lives and reliance on worldy things and authorities, that God will still lift them out of the boat if things really get bad. Father points out that they have been stagnant too long on the banks of the Lethe River, one of the tributaries that flows through hell and from which the comes the etimology of "lethargic". Lethargy is one of the derivatives for the seven deadly sins and the longer those who place their hope in man wait, the harder it will be to recognize the true Beacon of Hope, the Lamp of Salvation. Father quotes both Old and New Testament Holy Writ in assuring that the only hope for redemption is through Jesus Christ and the steady rescue ship He has sent: the Immemorial Holy Sacrifice of the Mass wherein daily - or weekly for most without the daily Latin Mass - we are not only reminded, but can readily recognize why Christ is the Lord and our only hope for salvation. Take courage, we shall not perish if we but believe and hoist the sails of true Catholicism against the winds of the world which will be quelled by the One Who created and rules all. Father explains in his sermon. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]
The disciples, tossed in their small boat upon the angry waves of the Sea of Galilee, cried out in terror to the Lord, "Lord, save us! we are perishing!" Theirs was a desperate situation, as they saw themselves in immediate danger of sinking beneath the waves. "'Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" said the Lord.' Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm" (Matthew 8:23-27).
We are in the boat now, almost overcome by the waves of stress, facing the fierce winds of tribulation, pulled under by the dead weight of our sins. Considering the desperate situation of the world, one would think there would be a universal cry, "Lord, save us! we are perishing!"
But we are not yet desperate enough. We still think there is hope in some worldly organization. We look to the United Nations, or to the U.S. Government, and a country faced with increasing financial stress. Perhaps the scientific community will find answers, or the international bankers will bail us out. But nothing can save us from the great storm of conflicts and natural disasters, and the persecutions foretold by the Lord, unless we are under His protection:
""Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes in various places, and pestilences and famines, and there will be terrors and great signs from Heaven. But before all these things they will arrest you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, dragging you before kings and governors for My name's sake." This will have a positive result. "It shall lead," the Lord says, "to your bearing witness" (Luke 21:10-12).
We trust in Jesus Christ our Lord. But what happens to those who place their confidence in worldly powers and not in God? The Prophet Isaiah writes of those who sought help from Egypt:
"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, trusting in horses, and putting their confidence in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong: and have not trusted in the Holy One of Israel, and have not sought after the Lordů Egypt is man, and not God: and their horses, flesh, and not spirit. And the Lord shall put down his hand, and the helper shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall, and they shall all be confounded together" (Isaias 31:1;3).
St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians:
"But of the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that we write to you, for you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord is to come as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, 'Peace and security,' even then sudden destruction will come upon them, as birth pangs upon her who is with child, and they will not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
The Divine plan is rarely understood. Even after the Lord's Resurrection the Apostles were still expecting the Lord to establish an earthly kingdom. "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" they asked (Acts 1:6), heedless of the fact that Christ had already done that in establishing His Church.
Today the Evangelical Christians, also not understanding the true nature of the Church, are making the same disastrous mistake, seeing the full restoration of the present state of Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and lending their full financial support and political influence to favor the cause of that nation. And we know where that has led us. The U.S. Treasury is already overextended, and U.S. military forces are stretched to their limits. Some are forecasting the imminent financial collapse of the United States of America.
As for today's "Catholics," a spiritual blindness afflicts them. They appear to have drunk from the mythical River of Forgetfulness, Lethe (one of the five rivers that wind through Hell), and have become "lethargic" as a result. They have forgotten who they are. The devil takes full advantage of the situation. This week I received an invitation from one of the local Protestant pastors to attend a lecture by a missionary, whose vision, he says, "is to plant 50 churches in Ireland." Ireland, once "the land of saints and scholars," what will become of you?
Abandoned by her friends and faced with nuclear extinction by her enemies, the remnant of Israel will finally utter her own cry of distress to Jesus Christ, the true Messiah:
"And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced. And they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son: and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn" (Zacharias 12:9,10).
We must learn that our salvation is from the Lord alone. St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, spoke the truth about Jesus Christ clearly: "Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Jesus Himself affirmed this. Moses had been directed by God to make a bronze serpent, so that those who had been bitten by serpents in punishment for their sins might be healed:
"Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered" (Numbers 21:9). Relating this incident to His Own crucifixion, Jesus said to Nicodemus: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting" (John 3:14,15).
Do we not do this every day? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross. After the words of the Consecration of the Bread and Wine, the priest lifts up the living Christ, literally, as though to say, "Behold the Savior! Look at Him! Have faith in Him! Cry out to Him: 'Lord, save us! we are perishing.'"
"In the world you will have affliction," says Our Lord, "But take courage, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Father Louis J. Campbell