Unbelief and Apostasy
"I try to be a good person, but I don't need to go to church to do that . . ."
Good intentions fail when deprived of the nourishment of Jesus' Body and Blood. Christ told us: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life within you. . . . for without me you can do nothing." (St. John 6:54; 15:5)
In recent years, unbelief and apostasy have spread throughout the world devouring the search for Truth that gives meaning to existence. Like cancer, apostasy invades, mutates, and replaces the Truth with lies. The seed of this apostasy is unbelief, and the fruit of unbelief is damnation.
In modern households, often only one person practices the faith. That person has a tremendous responsibility of love — to pray for the others. Salvation, the gift offered by Jesus' blood on the Cross, may be refused by those who are not disposed to hear the Truth, nor worthy to receive Him. Within these families, the person who believes is the greatest gift from Our Good Lord.
Reflect, for a moment, on the plight of a family that has no belief. One family member dies. The family mourns. Memories of the deceased slowly fade to fleeting reminiscences. Prayers for their soul cease with the minister's final words.
Now suppose that he or she, through Jesus' tremendous gift of final repentance, has avoided an eternity in Hell. That soul, because of its laxity, would need to be purified in Purgatory for a long time. Since the family does not practice belief in Jesus, the deceased must 'go-it-alone' without the benefit of prayers from their own family.
If their own family does not pray for them, who will?
Who will pray for you?
"No-one has the right to tell me what I should or should not do, especially about my morals or values. . . ."
Cultural laws reflect current thinking on relative morality. However, the eternal laws of God do not change with our re-definition of words. For example, adultery or 'second (illicit) marriage' is still adultery — Herod's 'wife' had John the Baptist's head for preaching this truth. Another re-defined word that is popular today: abortion or 'a woman's right to choose'.
We are always faced with two choices. One uplifts us to the fullness of life in relation to our God. The other degrades our image and likeness to God. We can choose the adulation of gods that we have made: power, prestige, pride and pleasure. This choice leads to the second death.
Our Lord's Passion gives us the best example of the choices we continually face. Truth stood before Pilate: "Jesus answered: 'Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.' Pilate saith to him: 'What is truth?' And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and saith to them: 'I find no cause in him.' . . . And so Pilate being willing to satisfy the people, released to them Barabbas, and delivered up Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified." (St. John 18: 37-38; St. Mark 15: 15) . . . . "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me." (St. John 14: 6)
We, too, will stand before the Truth, before Jesus, on our personal day of judgment. If we have lived a life in accordance to His Will, expressed in His Bride the Church, we face Mercy. Otherwise, we face the Just Judge — we must account for all our choices — since it is He who knows the depths of our hearts.
Seekers of the Truth
"Take heed therefore how you hear. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given:
and whosoever hath not, that also which he thinketh he hath, shall be taken way from him."
(St. Luke 8: 18)
"People of Joy — People of Peace"
We are children of the Cross. We have been redeemed by our Risen Lord Jesus Christ.
In our baptism, we have plunged into the waters of death — dying to sin, to ourselves with Jesus Christ — to rise again in Him in eternal life. That is His promise. That is our joy!
We trust in His promise of eternal life since we believe and are baptized in Him, and know the One who sent Him. With this joy, He has given us His peace. We know He loves us tenderly and infinitely since He shed His Blood for us on the Holy Cross. We know we are redeemed in Him since He nailed death to the Cross, and with it, our sins. We know we have an Advocate who continually pleads our cause before the Father.
We put to death all that is unholy and unworthy of such a great promise — ". . . fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." (Galatians 5: 19-20)
We actively seek and nurture the fruit of the Holy Spirit " . . . charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity." (Galatians 5: 22-23)