So yesterday we had a visiting priest from the Pontifical College Josephinum. He's been there before. A jovial fellow, he came into the priesthood later in life. Therefore, he had quite a record of real world living, if you get my drift. He's not afraid to point that out.
But he always points it out as a reminder that real world living is not what we were made for. We were made to love God with all we are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Not love in the Kinsey and Dr. Spock sort of way. That is, love for the sake of getting what we want out of someone, or love meaning we let them play in the traffic because we don't want to hurt their feelings by telling them no.
Actual agape love is what we're for. That's the unconditional divine love, often translated charity in older biblical translations, that one years in St. Paul's famous 'discourse on love' in his letter to the Corinthians. Real love, pure love, divine love. Not the junk we have today in our society.
Of course, there is a catch. For all of God's love, there comes a day of reckoning. A day in which we account for the gifts God has freely given. And that's what yesterday's homily was about. In a manner that wouldn't shame a fundamentalist tent revival, the priest reminded us that some day we will die, and then the judgment.
And he emphasized it does no good to appeal to the Supreme Court for what we can do. The World is frequently wrong. We're called to do God's will based on what is clearly taught by way of God's own revelation. And if we choose not to, we will stand before God on the Day of Judgment and have to account for our choice.
Yes, we have the Sacraments. We have Confession and Last Rights (he emphasized this, and the need for regular confession). But at the end, Christ will come like a thief. We ourselves may die slowly and with time to spare and prepare, or not. The point is, to ask every day if I am prepared to meet my Maker. And to live every day to make sure the answer is yes. Because on that day, there is no blame, there is no finger pointing, there is no corporate guilt of others, there is us before the Throne of God.
Wow. The actual Gospel preached. Yes, he said this with a smile, and managed to make it sound almost disarming. But the words had power. It reminded me how far we sometimes are from our faith nowadays. More politics than anything. Sometimes social issues and agendas. Often personal opinions. All of which have their place of course. But sometimes I think even if we believe we're fighting the World, we're only doing it on the World's terms, not the Faith's.
I contrasted that homily to what I hear so often from so many Church leaders, including our pope. I think that priest, too, was aware of the recent debacle with President Biden and Pope Francis. I think he made it more than clear we're not given the right to declare ourselves good Catholics while rejecting the revelation of God, and we do so at eternal risk. For that is what it is. And we either believe that, or there's no sense wasting time waking up on a Sunday morning when we could roll over and get some extra sleep.