daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 2nd Week of Advent, December 09, 2011
Isa. 48:17-18, Ps. 1, Matt. 11:16-19

"O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains" (Isa. 48:18-19).

How many difficulties come to us because of our sins! If we had always been obedient to God's will, if we had always followed him with all our heart, as we should, our life would be very different now. We would have been blessed by God a hundred times more than now. Our peace would be like a river, our righteousness like the waves of the sea, and we would have grown much more in holiness.

"O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last for ever. I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you" (Ps. 80:13-16).

This is as true of groups as it is of individuals. It applies to the people of Israel as a whole, as much as it does to each individual member. Is also applies to groups, societies, and religious orders in the Church. Since Vatican II many groups have experimented and changed much, and often they have also forgotten and lost much that is essential to priestly, celibate, religious, and monastic life. Some groups have largely given up religious dress or clerical attire, simplicity and austerity in their diet and in their life in general, and increasingly follow the example and lifestyle of the world around them, rather than influencing the world and giving it an example to follow. In many ways the world has converted them, instead of them converting the world. And the whole hedonistic philosophy of the world, presented in its movies, has become the normal and regular entertainment of some of these groups.

The result, which we should have been able to foresee, is that these groups have almost no new vocations. They are unable to attract those to whom God has given a priestly, celibate, religious, or monastic vocation. The more secularized a group has become, normally the greater is its recruitment problem. People who have a religious, celibate, priestly, and monastic vocation are not attracted to groups that have become so secularized. What they feel inside of them does not harmonize well with what they see in such groups; so they look elsewhere.

"O that you had hearkened to my commandments! ... Your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains" (Isa. 48:18, 19). But there is still hope. We can still learn from our mistakes, repent, and change our ways before we die altogether. God still wants to bless us, especially during Advent and Christmas. If we have faith in him, make the crooked straight, and the rough places plain, we shall see the glory of the Lord together (Isa. 40:4-5). This is the glory that we now await: "Behold, the Lord will come descending with splendor to visit his people with peace, and he will bestow on them eternal life" (Entrance Ant.).

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