Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
"Behold, this child is set for the fall and the rising of many in Israel, and for a
sign that is spoken against..." Mary and Joseph present the infant Lord at the
temple in loving obedience to God and Simeon boldly prophecies: Christ will be hated
by all who reject the truth. As with Christ, so with all who bear his name in faith and
action. Those in rebellion against God, who worship false gods, will seek in every age
to attack him and all who belong to him.
The universal Church of Christ stands for the truth and so finds herself opposed by all
who detest truth. Her members are called to heroic fidelity against those who deny
God and his laws. The Body of Christ is now and will be a "sign that is spoken
against" until the end of the world. As we grow in authentic Christian faith and life,
we may be called to share in every sorrow and tribulation our Lord freely underwent
for us, that we might share forever in the perfect happiness of God. In the conflict of
good and evil, for some this will mean even death.
The Church must remain faithful to her Lord and so follows his example.
Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a 'sign of
contradiction,' (Lk 2:34) but more so for the religious authorities in
Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply
'the Jews,' (Jn 1:19; 2:18;5:10) than for the ordinary People of God. (Jn
7:48-49)" (CCC 575)
Many of the common Jewish people were open and sincere before God and so found
a place in their minds and hearts for Christian faith. Through pride and power some in
the Jewish nation had lost a humble desire for God and could not accept the Messiah
while blinded with self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
In every age some hard-heartedly refuse to accept Christ as the fulfillment of the Law,
the Temple "not made by human hands", the full revelation of the Triune God. Some
government and religious leaders claim Godliness, just as Jewish leaders did, but their
actions often speak far differently than their words. A president claims to be Christian,
quotes the Bible, and yet approves the slaughter of innocents as they enter the world
from their mothers' wombs. Doctors, lawyers and elected leaders promote heinous
laws which encourage abortion for use of fetal tissue, the equal of Nazi
exterminations. Judges continue a vociferous assault upon God in the schools as great
numbers of children suffer for lack of faith in God and his love. Parents claim
Christianity yet fail to teach their children basic prayers or to bring them to worship.
Catholics break their communion with God through fornication, marriage outside the
Church or desecration of the Sabbath and compound their wrongdoing by
hypocritical reception of Communion.
Many things are wrong with the world; sin is a constant reality for the sons and
daughters of Adam, but pessimism is never the way for the members of Christ. As
"signs of contradiction" we preach the truth about love and life to a forgetful world.
We proclaim the reality of God's love which can break into our hardened hearts by
redemption in Christ who is truly with us now and will never leave us.
The solution to sin is heroic acceptance of our vocation to love. Young men and
women jeopardize their future marriage, as well as their souls, through fornication;
they must be patiently told that their actions prove they do not love each other
enough. Heroic love remains chaste outside of marriage, and builds a solid foundation
of honesty with God, with self and others for a marriage based on generous self-giving
and not selfish taking. Young boys and girls need generous parents who are willing to
sacrifice money and career to give the time and attention no child can do without.
When a child knows he is loved, he learns to cherish himself enough to avoid the
danger of drugs and alcohol abuse. In authentic love priests must preach the whole
doctrine of the Church, calling the moral evil of contraception by name and providing
the means for couples to learn natural methods for the regulation of births.
Our Faith is a treasure beyond price, by the strength of which we stand boldly against
the winds of fad and fashion, the culture of death that threatens happiness now and
forever. Signs of contradiction, we share in the glory of the great host of martyrs who,
when called by God, sacrificed all in trust and love of Him. We bear the holy name of
the Savior, Jesus, and rejoice when found worthy to suffer "for the sake of the
I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet
Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick
(Publish with permission.) www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/