The Gospel of Peace
In order to truly seek and attain peace, we must be rooted in the love of, with and for God in all things. Anything less and peace will be fruitless as we can plainly see in the futility of man's promises today.
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for Gaudete Sunday - the Third Sunday of Advent - liturgically the Holy Mother Church rejoices at the proximity of the Messiah's coming. Realistically, She laments for the modern Church is not ready for His coming. Alas, the conciliar Church might well not recognize Him for the reformers of Vatican II have strayed so from the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church that Our Lord's Own words in Luke 18: 8 would be fulfilled, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth?". Father wonders as he laments how even the Pope has twisted the meaning of St. Augustine's words to conform to his humanist agenda. The proof is in the evidence of the kind of peace we have today; not even the worldly peace that John Paul envisioned. Rather we have a crumbling "City of Man" primarily because they have abandoned the "City of God."
Today is known as Gaudete Sunday, from the first word of the Introit, and from the Epistle. "Rejoice," St. Paul tells us, "for the Lord is near." In the Epistle St. Paul goes on to speak of "the peace of God which surpasses all understanding." This is the peace that is not given to the world, nor can the world give this peace. It is given only to those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and are obedient to His commands.
Father Louis J. Campbell
Looking back to the message of John Paul II for his "World Day of Peace" on January 1st, 2002, we note as the year ends that his hopes for peace have not been fulfilled. "This is the hope," he said, " which sustains the Church at the beginning of 2002: that, by the grace of God, a world in which the power of evil seems once again to have taken the upper hand will in fact be transformed into a world in which the noblest aspirations of the human heart will triumph, a world in which true peace will prevail."
The pillars of true peace, he says, are justice and forgiveness. Quoting the document Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II, which says that peace is "the fruit of that right ordering of things with which the divine founder has invested human society and which must be actualized by man thirsting for an ever more perfect reign of justice," John Paul claims that the Church has always taught this, and is repeating here the teaching of St. Augustine, who said in his City of God that "peace is the tranquility of order."
Has the Church always taught this? I do not see this as an honest use of St. Augustine. St. Augustine was not saying that God had invested human society as such with the power to actualize the right order which is the cause of peace. St. Augustine spoke of Original Sin which has deprived humanity of Sanctifying Grace and alienated men from one another. War is the result of this alienation and the lack of Sanctifying Grace. True peace comes only with belief in Jesus Christ and the grace conferred through Baptism.
"Two loves built two cities," said Augustine in his great work, The City of God, "The one (the 'City of Man') is based on a love of self to the contempt of God; the other (the 'City of God') is rooted in a love of God to the contempt of self." It is the 'City of Man' that is firmly entrenched in the nations of the world, since the nations despise God, and refuse to recognize the authority and sovereignty of Christ the King. The 'City of Man' has no power to create a true and lasting peace except in the eyes of secular humanists and freemasons-and John Paul II.
Here the difference between the teachings of Vatican II and traditional Catholic teaching is revealed. The view of Vatican II and the conciliar Church is that the world already has all that it needs to build a better world, a "civilization of love." It is not really necessary to preach the Gospel to build a better world, as the nations have already been invested by the "divine founder" with all that is necessary to achieve it. Who, we may ask, is the "divine founder"? The only reason to preach the Gospel is to tell man what he already can do. Vatican II glorifies man and his accomplishments. It exalts the 'City of Man.'
The traditional Church takes to heart the Scriptures and the lessons of history. "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes" (Ps.118:8,9). And in Psalm 146, "Put not your trust in princes, in man, in whom there is no salvation" (Ps.146:3).
Even John Paul II in his document refers to "our endless history of division and conflict." He complains that "those who kill by acts of terrorism actually despair of humanity…" But what grounds do we have to hope in a humanity born in sin and alienated from God? How can our leaders believe that peace can be achieved through military power and the force of arms? Our hope is not in man, nor in the 'City of Man,' but in Jesus Christ Who alone can obtain for us "the peace that surpasses all understanding."
At the time the document was written, John Paul was looking forward to the Assisi prayer meeting which he would attend a few weeks later on January 24th. There the representatives of the world's religions, he said, "will show that genuine religious belief is an inexhaustible wellspring of mutual respect and harmony among peoples…" An astounding statement! Is the "religious belief" of Christians no different in nature from the "religious belief" of Jews, Muslims or Hindus? I thought that "genuine religious belief" was possible only through the gift of faith - faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the faith without which it is impossible to please God. The superstitions of the false religions can in no way be called "genuine religious belief," nor can they be considered "an inexhaustible wellspring of mutual respect and harmony among peoples." They serve only to divide humanity. They impede the preaching of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and close the gates of Heaven to millions who must remain in the darkness of ignorance and sin. The world religions cannot bring true peace to the world.
John Paul did make a few references to Jesus Christ in his message for the "World Day of Peace," but he fell short of preaching the Gospel. He had his reasons. He did not say that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life," and the true Messiah, before Whom every knee shall bow. He did not say that it is necessary to repent and believe in the Gospel in order to be saved. If he had said these things, the Jews and the Muslims, the Buddhists and the Hindus would not have come to his prayer meeting. As it is, they can come to these prayer meetings and still remain infidels and idolaters. If John Paul preached the same Gospel as the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, his inter-faith charade would come to an abrupt end.
The "good news" of the Gospel raises its hearers to the level of supernatural faith, where they begin to understand the things of the Spirit and come to know the true God, the God of peace.
Says St. John in his first epistle: "I write of what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have handled: of the Word of Life. And the Life was made known and we have seen, and now testify and announce to you, the Life Eternal which was with the Father, and has appeared to us. What we have seen and have heard we announce to you, in order that you also may have fellowship with us, and that our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1Jn.1-3).
The beloved disciple's first-hand report and his assuring words are truly the truth, in which we should rejoice.
Third Sunday of Advent
December 15-21, 2002
vol 13, no. 147
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons