DAILY CATHOLIC THURSDAY August 27, 1998 vol. 9, no. 168
WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
Sowing the fruits of our labors
In the last issue we touched on the conspiracy, within the Church, to forge paths that do not lead to Heaven. What keeps nurturing this wicked weed that threatens to choke Holy Mother Church? In this installment we delve into why this conspiratorial menace surrounds the faithful today as many go about their daily lives oblivious of the gnawing disease that saps the bark and strong trunk of the True Tree Christ planted - His One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.
The parable of the sower is evident today within Holy Mother Church
Matthew's account in chapter 13 parallels what is happening today in the Church and what we must do. Jesus says in Matthew 13:4, "...some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and ate them up." These seeds represent those who were raised in the faith, but as time went on they succumbed to the "fly-by-night" lures of the world and were devoured. In Matthew 13:5-6, He talks about those who were shaky from the start in their faith with no true foundation and when the day of opportunity dawned that they could grow stronger in their faith, they wilted. Unable to be nourished, the heat of committing themselves totally to the Cross scorched their resolve and they melted under worldly pressures. "And other seeds fell upon rocky ground, where they had not much earth; and they sprang up at once, because they had no depth of earth; but when the sun rose they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away." In the next verse Christ tells about those seeds who "...fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked them." Here Jesus is referring to those who, though they might have been strong in their faith, succumbed to the world, the flesh and the devil - the thorns that prevent us from smelling the roses of salvation. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 13: 19-22.
All of these were given the riches of the faith, but abused their God-given graces bestowed. Jesus warned them a few verses later, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given. For to him who has shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who does not have, even that which he has shall be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, neither do they understand." Jesus told us that to those who have been given much, much is expected. To those who have been given the tremendous treasure of the Catholic faith, much more is expected than those who were not as fortunate to inherit the true faith. Therefore, those who abuse this privilege, who discard this gift, aren't they literally slapping Christ in the face? They are telling Him they have a better idea, that God's ideas are out-dated and out-of-touch. They're telling God they know better than the Almighty Triune Divinity. That's how Adam and Eve got into all this trouble and that's how so many of today's Catholics are following in their path. Their hearts have become hardened as Jesus reveals in repeating the passage of Isaiah 6: 10, (Matthew 13: 15) "For the heart of this people has been hardened, and with their ears they have been hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their mind, and be converted, and I heal them."
The New Age philosophy that chokes Catholicism today stresses the unimportance of suffering, penance, making reparation and praying. New Age gurus promote that we can have everything without really working for it, in essence that we can have the glory of salvation without the Cross. This can never be for Jesus Himself said in Luke 14: 27, "And he who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be My disciple." This false philosophy has permeated the sanctuaries of our churches where the Crucifix has been replaced by the "Resurrecix", thereby denying that Jesus suffered and died for our sins and set the example for all to follow - a blueprint of God's Will. Yet New Ageism preaches the superiority of man's will over a supreme being, supplanting the latter by creating a plethora of little gods, spewing the same heresy the evil one hissed to our first parents that they could be "like" God. We can never be like God, but we can strive to be God-like.
That is the difference between the New Agers and true Catholics. True Catholics, those who listen (cf. Matthew 13:9) to the authority Christ established on earth - the Vicar of Christ, realize that, though we have a free will, we can never be truly free unless we are totally dependent on God for everything. They put away the things of a child, leaving childishness and embrace being child-like in their faith and trust in God's Providence. These are the Catholics who Jesus refers to in Matthew 13: 8 and 23: "And the one sown upon good ground, that is he who hears the word and understands it; he bears fruit and yields in one case a hundredfold, in another sixtyfold, and in another thirtyfold." They listen to Christ's representative Pope John Paul II and heed his counsel. They respect the Magisterium of the Church Jesus established and they adhere to the Doctrines, Dogmas and Teachings of His Church.
Separating the wheat from the chaff
The biggest problem today between loyal Catholics, albeit "conservatives" as they have been labeled, and cafeteria Catholics, those "liberals" who seek to change what Jesus set down is the struggle for power. It is no secret the liberals would like to wrest the papacy from the conservatives and openly tout their candidates (in particular Cardinal Martini of Milan), promulgating stories that our present Holy Father will die soon or be forced to step down because of age, health or mental state. The secular media as well as, sadly, a good portion of the Catholic press grab these campaigns and run with them as if they are gospel. This is how the liberals were able to infiltrate after Vatican II, imposing their agendas as if they were dictated by the Holy See, which in fact they were not. Yet the scapegoat has always been Vatican II. "Since Vatican II, we don't do that anymore" or "Vatican II changed that" or "Vatican II did away with that devotion or that saint,etc." The facts are that Vatican II did not alter much at all. In fact, if one would read the documents of Vatican II, one would find that mainly they reaffirmed the Dogmas, Doctrines and Teachings of the Church and re-emphasized Our Lady's vital role as Mother of the Church. Yet to hear the liberals speak today, Mary is passe, the saints out-moded, and Benediction, the Rosary and Perpetual Adoration are things of the past. Wrong!!! They are just as vital today as they were hundreds of years ago, if not more so.
On the other side, the conservative element ask why His Holiness John Paul II hasn't spoken out stronger, why he hasn't put down these heresies and asserted his authority as the head of the Church in regard to these radical groups of lay organizations, priests and bishops who openly defy the Pope. The answer is also found in Matthew 13 in the parable of the weeds about the enemy planting weeds in the fields of good seed. Like concerned conservatives today, the servants asked the owner why they couldn't just gather up the weeds and destroy them. The owner of the field replies, "'No...'lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them." Like Jesus in His wisdom and guided by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father knows the right procedure to separate the wheat from the chaff as depicted in Matthew 13: 30, "Let both grow together until the harvest; and at the harvest time I will say to the reapers: Gather up the weeds first and bind them in bundles to burn; but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
The Holy Father is biding his time, never compromising but always showing love in the vein of the Good Shepherd (cf. John 10: 1-18 and Matthew 18: 10-14). True, many of the weeds need to be eradicated before they choke even more of the good wheat, yet to wield the plough now would bruise the fruit and damage the good wheat - those who are still striving to do God's will but are weak. When the fruit has fully blossomed, when the good wheat is firmly rooted, then the Pope will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff without destroying the good wheat for he will know, as we will know the good fruit, just as Jesus says in Matthew 8: 16-20, "By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them." When this comes to fruition, the weeds will be eradicated in an "unquenchable fire" and the wheat will be gathered together at the harvest. So many complain today about the dwindling vocations, the lack of priests. This is the main harbinger of those liberal voices crying for married priests or women priests. The answer is not that, but for harvesters to toil and nurture vocations so that we will have a plethora of good priests in the days ahead. Yes, it takes work. But nothing worthwhile is attained without the sweat of our brow. This work ethic is sorely lacking today as Christ confirms in Matthew 9: 37-38, "The harvest is indeed great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest."
Prayer is the primary fabric of the work ethic of the laborer for God. Without prayer, we don't stand a chance to grow. Prayer fertilizes the fruit; prayer is the repellant that keeps the weeds at bay.
In the next installment we will see how God is calling us today, how He opens the door for all His faithful ones to
become laborers for the harvest - a harvest that is imminent as we near the millennium. Will it be an abundant
harvest in which we can rejoice in its fruits forever, or will it be but a sampling of wheat salvaged from all the
chaff? The results of this harvest lie in our hands. It's time to put our shoulder to the wheel and our hands on the
plow and start furrowing God's fertile fields. "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 20: 16). Yes, God is calling. Will we answer the call of Christ and His Blessed Mother and pass muster as one of Their chosen ones? Prayer and perseverance are the only way to sow the fruits of our labors.
WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?