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Hold Strong The Teachings
Of The Catholic Faith

Homily 08 25 2013
21st Sunday OT - C

Homily 08 25 2013
21st Sunday OT - C

View the Readings for this day

In my 42 years of priesthood, in preaching to the young and to adults, and in discussions, I have found many people holding the opinion that it doesn't matter what religion they are so long as they love God.


I pray for graces of God to hit these people because religion is how we learn to love God, and what religion we belong to is important.

I have always looked with disdain upon the argument that "I happen to be Catholic because I was born Catholic," or, whatever.

To me, a person should espouse a certain faith because it is the clearest way to the Truth for him or her.

Therefore, anyone who is Jewish and does not think it is the clearest way to God should not be Jewish; anyone who is Methodist and does not think Methodism is the clearest form of Christianity is guilty of mediocrity.


Any Catholic who believes that his or her Catholicism is not the truest or clearest form of Christianity is clearly a person who has not thought in depth about what it means to be a committed Christian, to hold strongly the ideals and teachings of the faith.

A person should belong to a particular faith because he or she knows it is a path for them to reach salvation.

Now why have I said all this?

Because I want to tell you just a little bit about why I am Catholic, because I want you to reflect on why you are Catholic, or if you are visiting us today from another Church, why you are a Protestant, or Jewish or Muslim, or remain unbaptized, and maybe together we can leave here today thinking a lot more deeply about why we are what we are and what our faith means.

I am Catholic because of this Gospel. The strength of our Catholic faith is embodied in seeking to enter the Narrow Gate.

Pretty powerful words, words that tell me that the Catholic faith traces itself all the way back to the apostles through centuries of Popes and bishops-their successors.

That's important to me, because I need to be certain that the Bible I read, the Commandments I try to live by, the Church I belong to is in touch with God, with his Son Jesus Christ and with those first followers of Christ who saw him, touched him, walked with him after he had risen.

I don't want to follow some faith that began 500, 300, 100 years ago; I need a religion that went back to Christ unbroken over 2000 years. This statement of Christ's convinced me.

The Church has been weak at times through the ages; when its leaders and people have not walked with Christ, it too has sinned. But Peter was strong too; alone of all the Apostles he had the courage and wisdom and oneness of heart to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit telling him who Jesus was, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," said Peter...and I believe and am so excited today about Francis, our present Pope. By himself, Peter is weak; with Christ he and his successors are strong. Everyone knows that the Pope is the successor of Peter.

With all our faults, it's great to be Catholic. To stand at Peter's tomb in the Vatican, to see the Pope in Rome, on TV or reading about him in the news is, to know that there are over a billion of us united to Christ-that's awesome!

We stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians throughout the ages who have been united with Rome for the past 2000 years, back to Peter, back to the apostles, back to Jesus Christ. This helps give stability to my faith, helps guarantee the truth of my faith, and I hope it helps yours too.

But with that surety, security and stability, comes an obligation. We do not walk alone if we are Catholic. We are Catholic and there are certain things we must believe. That's hard for Americans to hear, because we are such individuals, but there is strength in unity. It's hard to live as Jesus teaches, and I need others to help me do that, too. That's why I love the Church-we are all in this together.

Next time you see the Pope, see the successor of Peter. Next time you see our Bishop, see a successor to the Apostles.

Why am I Catholic? Because I see Peter and the Apostles every day. Sometimes weak, sometimes strong, that Our Holy Father and Bishops tell me that as long as I hang close to the Church, I have truth that really matters, Jesus Christ who loves me, cares for me, saves me, and gives me life forever.

The Gospel therefore reminds us that we cannot afford to be complacent. Jesus uses the example of a narrow gate and a closed door to make the point. "Try your best to enter the narrow door, because I tell you many will try to enter and will not succeed" (Lk. 13:24).

It is important that we reflect on why they will not succeed. The narrow door suggests that Christ loves us whoever we may be and whatever we have done, but Christ expects that we will not stay where we are. Christ expects us to agonize, to strive mightily to live according to the standard he has established for us.

You will recall that two weeks ago, we spoke about watchfulness and preparedness for the Lord's second coming.

In the present text, Jesus returns to the same theme, and this time leads us to become more aware of the consequences of being found unprepared.

"Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door" some will find themselves outside, knocking the door, and Jesus will answer, "I do not know where you come from".

The implication here is serious.

If you will have been on "vacation", away from God, Christ may not recognize you. You may appear to be a total stranger, naked, without his grace; without a wedding gown. The time for cleaning yourself will have expired, and there will be no way of sneaking in!

So what message do we take home today?

  1. Those who enter the narrow gate will enjoy the Father's eternal banquet, but one has to strive to enter that narrow gate with determination as if it were a question of life and death.
  2. It is not enough to be baptized. Paul reminds us today that there is a discipline to be followed; there are values to live by.
  3. When that day comes, it will not be enough to claim that we went to a RE classes or were confirmed or we have gone to Church ever so often and have given our Church offerings on occasion.
  4. Good deeds of the past by themselves will not buy a ticket into heaven; they must be matched by a life worthy of our Christian calling.

The bottom line is whether you and I will be inside or outside! The choice is mine and yours.

In our days there are men and women that are finding the "narrow gate." Through it shall enter those who work to live love faithfully, who live to serve their neighbor, who know how to live with a sense of solidarity.

Who will be saved?

When the moment of truth comes there will be many surprises. Many of those who were last will be first, and vice versa.

This is a warning, a call to commitment. Let us tell Christ, "Lord, you can do everything; grant me the grace of salvation."

An assistant to former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes once told how he and another coach were looking out a window one day and saw Coach Hayes slowly easing into the last empty space in the parking lot, barely wide enough for a car. But he couldn't get out of the car once it was parked. There weren't more than four inches alongside and he couldn't open either door. A moment passed, and then he backed the car out. Now, as they stared in disbelief, Hayes got out of the car, walked to the rear, planted his hands on the trunk and slowly, grimly, pushed the car back into the space. We aren't told how he got back into the car later. Maybe the cars on either side moved. I suppose if you are determined, no space is too narrow.

Except one...

...Jesus says in our lesson for today, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able...." do not grow discouraged as you attempt often with little success to put on Christ. "The only way to fail," says St Teresa of Avila, "is to stop."


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Mass Schedule

Saint Aloysius
Tue - Fri - 8:30am
Sat - 5:00pm
Sun - 10:30am

Holy Days
8:30am & 7:00pm

First Friday
8:30am followed by Adoration until 7:55pm

- After weekday Mass
- Before Sat & Sun Mass
- Mon - 3:00pm

Sat - 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Or by appointment

Our Lady Of Lourdes
Sun - 8:30am

Before Sunday Mass

Find Us

Saint Aloysius
211 West Mason Ave.
Buckley, WA 98321
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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Office Hours
Tue - Fri 9am - 12:00pm

Our Lady Of Lourdes
506 Ash Street
Wilkeson, WA 98396
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
Map it



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