Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sermon for the Fourteenth after Pentecost

Noten que aquí hago referencia a la Encíclica del Santo Padre Benedicto Caritas in Veritate.
Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
On this Sunday, The Church emphasizes the need to grow in the love of God and our neighbor. Our faith is founded upon the two-fold precept of love of God and our neighbor. It is fitting therefore to consider what is the virtue of charity truly is and its importance.
First of all, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has emphasized the importance of this virtue by writing two encyc licals on the matter, God is love, charity from the Latin “Deus caritas est “and “Caritas in veritate”, charity in truth. Both papal writings emphasize the need for charity to our neighbor and society.
Saint Paul and the whole message of the Gospel is that of the new commandment: “By this shall men know that you are my disciples If you have love for one another”. That is the doctrine of Saint Paul: “For all the law is fulfilled in one sentence: thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. Kindness of heart, generosity, self-forgetfulness, done to be like Jesus is the beginning and the end of our holy faith.
But the fruit of the Spirit is charity’ mark these words dear faithful, because here are described the effects of our holy faith as far as the practical effects are concerned. We need to see the example of Jesus during His public ministry, the example of the Blessed mother and the Saints; Jesus Christ bore witness by His earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection. From the example of the scriptures: “The charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent His only begotten Son into the world that we may live by Him”.
The Holy Father reminds us in his letter that charity is first and most of all founded upon God, Caritas says the Pope, “it is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth”. And also from his previous encyclical when he mentioned that: “everything has its origin in God’s love, everything is shaped by it everything is directed towards it”.
Under this perspective of charity we change our view of things; the new papal writing addresses the need for a vision of man in a Christian perspective to see the other not with our own eyes but with the eyes of Jesus. Real progress in society may shine forth only if it is guided under a spirit of truth and charity. Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. True development of a nation can take place when governments see that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity.
Another consideration that springs forth from charity is the concept of the common good, which teaches us that besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of all of us, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. The more we strive, Benedict continues, to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbors, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practice this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation. Material growth, or a process of development to technology alone are views opposed to the understanding that a person has to be seen in its integrity and has been raised to a spiritual creature with values and holiness with a dignity as a creature of God.
The fully meaning of development that the Church proposes is that in which the family has its primary place as the foundation of Society, fraternal Charity obliges us a precept of love to be concerned with the unborn, the most innocent creatures who are in danger of loosing their lives or any other form in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.
Openness to life is at the center of true development only when man sees the dignity of a person as someone to be loved for the sake of God a spiritual view that is not superficial, rather it sees man as God’s creature someone who has been endowed with an immortal soul and who has always loved.
This love of neighbor is thus shown possible in the way proclaimed in the Scriptures by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an encounter with god, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I can learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. In other words, supernatural charity is loving the image of God that we see in our neighbor. St. Thomas Aquinas points out that we don not love our enemy insofar as he is an enemy, for that is contrary to the nature of reason and regardless of how evil our enemy is, he has been created in the image and likeness of God and we therefore are bound to wish the salvation of his soul. While on earth, we ought to love our enemies in this life because they have the possibility of being saved. Finally, true charity, as the name of Benedict’s work indicates is truth and not opposed to it. To use Saint Paul, epistle, “Charity rejoices in the truth”. (I Corinthians 13,6), we are mistaken If we believe that we are being charitable to others by compromising the truth, and we must remember that our Christian duty requires “to love the sinner and hate the sin, which on occasion requires to correct our neighbor”. To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity.
In the words of Saint Paul to the Romans: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor”. Let us be open to God in our lives aware of our calling to walk in the truth and enkindle the darkness of indifference, materialism and selfishness with the Light of Christ.

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