Sermon of Fr Louis Campbell
Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 25, 2015
“Wise in your own conceits” (Rom.12:16b)
To Almighty God, our Divine Creator and Savior, we owe the highest thanksgiving and praise, infinitely more than we human beings are capable of. But, thanks be to God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, has returned infinite thanksgiving and praise to God the Father through His sorrowful death on the Cross at Calvary. And through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass He has made it possible for us to do the same, offering, through the hands of the priest, and in union with the Son of God, infinite thanksgiving and praise to the Divine Trinity. This is what we are called to do by our Baptism. This is what we ought to do.
On the other hand, the greatest sins are those of blasphemy. This is why the Catechism of the Council of Trent speaks of the enormous guilt “of those who, with impure and defiled lips, dare to curse or blaspheme the Holy Name of God – that Name which is to be blessed and praised above measure by all creatures, or even the names of the Saints who reign with Him in glory. So atrocious and horrible is this crime that the Sacred Scriptures, sometimes when speaking of blasphemy, use the word blessing” (On the Second Commandment).
At His trial by the Jewish Sanhedrin, Jesus was accused of blasphemy, and it was on this charge, after He acknowledged that He was the Christ, that He was condemned to death. And the high priest tore his garments, saying, “‘What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ And they all condemned him as liable to death” (Mk.14:63,64).
Blasphemy is in the news. The Muslims are outraged at the cartoons of their prophet Mohammed on the covers of the Paris satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo. It comes as no surprise. But Christians have even more reasons to be outraged than the Muslims, because of Charlie’s blasphemous cartoons of the Divine Trinity, and of Jesus Christ, God’s Word made flesh, and of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary. These are the most blasphemous and outrageous pictures I have ever seen in my entire life of over eighty years.
Sharing in the guilt of Charlie Hebdo are the world leaders who gathered in Paris to remember the victims of the Muslim attack, and to show support for Charlie Hebdo. Guilty also are those carrying signs and shouting “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). They shout for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, wagging their pens or pencils to make their point. But freedom of speech and of the press must have its limitations.
Those who publish newspapers or magazines should not be unduly pressured or dictated to by government or other agencies as to what they may or may not publish. But this does not mean they are licensed to say anything they please. They are bound by God’s Commandments the same as the rest of us. They are not free to publish licentious materials that pervert the minds of the people, or to promote false ideologies that turn them away from God or His Holy Church. The same applies to freedom of speech or freedom of expression.
We are NOT free to call evil good and good evil. We are NOT free to blaspheme the Name of the All Holy God, and of His Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Mother of God, Mary! We are NOT free to scandalize the innocent and grossly insult other human beings. We are NOT free to pass laws that contradict the Holy Commandments of God! Jesus had angry words for the Pharisees who blasphemously accused Him of casting out devils by the power of the Prince of devils, ending His words with this stern warning:
“But I tell you, that of every idle word men speak, they shall give account on the day of judgment. For by thy words thou wilt be justified, and by thy words thou wilt be condemned” (Mt.12:36,37).
The “in your face” attitude of the Charlie staff could be the spark that ignites the Third World War, but they don’t want to talk about that. The Muslims are preparing for a great Jihad. They will march on Europe, the devastation will be catastrophic, and the whole world will pay the price in unimaginable suffering and destruction.
SIN is NOT FUNNY! We dare not laugh at those publications or TV programs and internet videos that portray it as hilarious. And Blasphemy is the greatest of sins! The nations have called down upon themselves the just wrath of God. Have we not witnessed it ourselves very recently, followed by the applause of many? God warns us through the prophet Isaiah:
“Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil… Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own conceits… Therefore as the tongue of the fire devoureth the stubble, and the heat of the flame consumeth it: so shall their root be as ashes, and their bud shall go up as dust. For they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and have blasphemed the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Is.5:20a;21;24).
God’s warrior angels with their flaming swords are hovering over the guilty world:
“At their presence, the earth hath trembled, and the heavens are moved: the sun and moon are darkened and the stars have withdrawn their shining. And the Lord hath uttered his voice before the face of his army: for his armies are exceeding great, for they are strong and execute his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible: and who can stand it?” (Joel 2:10,11).
Come world war, earthquake or fire from the heavens, God will not let His own perish. But we must turn away from sin NOW, and take refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We still dare to hope that turning to God in true repentance we may find a place of safety in this chaotic world.
“Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil” (Joel 2:12,13).