Death Has Entered the Church
Tuesday July 30, 2002 (Audio) Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Jeremiah 14:17-22) Gospel (St. Matthew 13:36-43)
In the first reading from the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet starts out by saying, "Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound." What he is doing is looking at what has happened to Jerusalem. It has gone into exile; it has been destroyed. The Babylonians had come in and God had allowed the Babylonians to destroy the city, to destroy the temple of God, and even to take all the implements from the temple of God back to Assyria to be able to use them for profane purposes.
Now the people of Israel always liked to brag that, because they had God and they had the temple of the Lord, nothing was going to happen to them. But just the opposite was the case because they were held to a higher accountability than anyone else in the world. They had God's revelation; they had the truth; they had the true worship of God. And they decided that they knew a better way. They did not want to do it God's way, and the Lord warned them: "If you do not stop, the temple itself is going to be destroyed." Well, they did not like it when Jeremiah told them that. They did not like it when any of the other prophets told them that: They mistreated them and rejected their word. But then when it happened, they understood - and it was because of their sins.
With the Church, the same is true. If the people in the Church - who have been given the fullness of the truth, who have Jesus Christ, who have the seven Sacraments, who know exactly the way they are supposed to live - decide that they do not want to live according to the ways of Christ, then the Lord is going to allow destruction to happen in order to teach them. The people of Jerusalem, when they saw the destruction of their beloved city, of the holy city of God and of the holy temple, what they saw was really a reflection of their own souls and a reflection of what they had done to the true religion which God had revealed. And if we, as Roman Catholics, do not amend our lives, the exact same thing is going to happen to the Church - and it may already be a little too late, because it has begun.
People have decided that they could infiltrate the Church and not live according to the truth, and in so doing, even good Catholics have decided: "If everybody else can live that way, so can I! I can call myself Catholic and I can live like a pagan. I can call myself a Catholic but not act like it. I can say that I believe in Jesus Christ but have nothing to do with Him, give Him lip service but have nothing else to do with Him beyond that. I'll show up for Mass on Sunday but don't think I'm going to live the life! I donít need to go to Confession. I don't need all of these rules and regulations; I can decide what's right and wrong for myself. Sin has nothing to do with me because I can choose for myself what I'm going to do and what I'm not."
I just heard last night a tragic, tragic statistic. This was put out by a very good Catholic medical association, so this is not some pagan newspaper putting this out: Right now, among Catholic women who are 40 and over, 52% have been sterilized. That is way higher than the national average among anybody else: other Christians who believe that contraception is okay and the pagans who do not care. But among Catholic women, 52% have been sterilized. And even more than that, when you stop and look at how many of them are contracepting beyond that, the numbers are staggering. Death has entered the Church, and it is here to stay until people decide to change their lives. What the doctors who wrote this were saying is that we may as well give up on the middle group - anybody who is 40 or over, they have given so wholeheartedly into this that there is no hope for them - and we need to go after the younger people because maybe they will accept the truth. Those who are middle-aged and older have rejected it.
It is about time that we start looking at what we are doing because these are the wounds that afflict the virgin daughter of God's people. They afflict the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And they afflict all of those who love the Church and want to follow Her teaching. Debauchery, paganism, ease - all the nonsense of the world - have come wholeheartedly into the Church; and more than anyone else in the world, Roman Catholics have bought Satan's lie and they are reveling in it. We have rejected the truth and we have rejected the true One. The purification, Saint Peter tells us, begins in the house of God - and so, it has begun. And it will continue because people refuse to repent. The few who are repentant can make up for a lot for the rest. All we need to do is look at our own sins and we realize that we have a lot of making up to do. There is much that is going on and much more to come because there is a lot of purification that needs to happen.
When people look at priests who are doing stupid things to little children, when they look at bishops who are complacent in it, and when they look at all of the other things that are going on, instead of pointing a finger what they need to do is look back at their own selves and say, "Are they really doing anything different than I am?" All that they are is a reflection of what the people of God have already chosen: They have chosen to reject God and worship something pagan. And it begins at the altar of God with priests who refuse to do God's Will. They go to the altar and they offer sacrilegious sacrifice because they do not want to do it God's way. When the priests are acting this way, what should we expect from the people?
Our eyes, like Jeremiah's, must stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of the people of God, over her incurable wound.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.