Thursday, October 17, 2013

What the Church Needs

Click here for the podcst of my Sunday homily.

The Sunday scriptures can be found here.

This past week the priests of the Diocese gathered with Bishop Swain for annual meetings. One area of discussion these past years has been future planning for the Diocese. One thing we find, that doesn't get much attention is our Sunday Mass attendance. Our numbers show only 35% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass. That means, on any given Sunday, probably 65% of our Catholics are committing a mortal sin!

Why is it that people don't live their faith? Is it something unique to our time? No. The Gospel tells the story of ingratitude. These 10 lepers were outcast from their communities but now restored to friendship and support. Only one comes to give thanks.

It wasn't unique 800 years ago in the days of St. Thomas Aquinas either. He said there are five reasons why hearts do not respond to the power of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit given in the Sacraments.
  1. Lack of Faith
  2. Lack of Understanding
  3. Lack of Desire to Live a New Life
  4. Lack of Repentance
  5. The priest omitted the pre-baptism exorcisms
What to do? First, build up your own life of prayer. Stir up the gifts God has given you. Just as chocolate syrup needs to be stirred up from the bottom of your glass of milk so to do you need to stir up the gifts. So, if one of the 5 causes of St. Thomas Aquinas caught your attention, deal with it! Go to Mass more often. Pray and beg our Lord to awaken your heart to the gift given to you. Finally, perform works of charity- they always awaken the gift of God.

Second, learn how to reach out to those who's faith is asleep or dead. Bishop Swain wants to assist you with that with a conference on October 26th: Encountering Jesus Christ. This one day faith conference will strengthen your faith and empower you to find others and aid others who's faith is asleep.

Finally, remember the generosity of our Lord. He does not portion the Holy Spirit but pours it in abundance to those who ask. Notice that Jesus does not withdraw the gift of physical healing from the 9 lepers who did not return to thank Him. He gives the gift and the gift endures, in hope of their return.

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