THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
(Transferred from 6th Sun after Epiphany)

18 November 2018

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Dear Friends,

Jesus tells us in the parables today that the Church (The Kingdom of God) begins very small in this world, but that it develops and grows to be the largest and best in the next world. The Son of God came to this world, taking upon Himself our lowly, fleshly, nature — humbling Himself as He became the least of us. He now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He has invited us to follow Him into this glory. However, before we can obtain the glories of Heaven we must take up the humility and lowliness of this life. We must become one with Him in humility if we wish to become one with Him in glory.

The path to this humility and lowliness is boldly presented to us: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and come follow Me." (St. Luke 9:23) "The last shall be first and the first shall be last." (St. Matthew 20:16) "Unless you become as little children you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." (St. Matthew 18:3)

The world laughs and mocks everyone who would implement these teachings in their lives here on earth. We need only remember that the ways of the world and the ways of God are opposed to each other. If the world hates us we should remember that the world hated Jesus first. It is much better to be hated by the world and loved by God, rather than be loved by this world and hated by God.

Those who have taken seriously the words of Jesus are most often considered as fools by this world. Most of the world continues to laugh and mock all who believe that unless we eat the Body of Jesus we will not have Life in us. The True Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is usually denied outright by most men and many who say they believe act as if they do not believe. The few brave souls that believe and act accordingly in His Holy Presence are looked upon or considered as pious simpletons or childish fools. Those who cooperate with the Grace of God in opposition to the derision of the world are rendered as the smallest of seeds in the sight of this world. However, hidden deep within the tiny seed rests the greatest of strength that will only be revealed in the next life.

To enter into the Kingdom of Heaven we must become with Jesus as humble and insignificant as the tiny mustard seed. We must shed the pride and vanity of this world. We must empty ourselves of all that is not Him. As we set aside the physical or material mass of our lives here on earth we become smaller and smaller. However, as the physical life is reduced, the spiritual Life grows within us. Once the tiny seed is stripped of everything else and is dead to this world, it is consigned to the earth. From this vantage point, all that it is or has is a spiritual life. This life is much greater and more powerful than any physical life in this world. Rising from the material grave it rises to a greater spiritual life.

The spiritual life has always been there — the soul is always with the body. It is just that we can't see or we forget to consider the soul because we don't look beyond the material bodies we have. It is only as we die to this body and this life — either physically or spiritually — that we begin to see the tiny precious seed hidden deep within. Because it is small or even non-existent to the eyes of our bodies we often fail to consider it and think that it is weak and insignificant. However, this hidden spiritual reality is the greatest strength that we have. It is what gives life to the very bodies that we prefer to our souls. The true value of the soul is only revealed in eternity. There the least will be revealed as the greatest. The tiny seed will be shown to be the greatest of trees.

The tiny seed may appear to be nothing, but without it, the entire plant species will die out. Our souls may appear to be nothing, but without them, our physical lives cease to be. We can kill the tiny seeds in various ways and thus prevent them from ever reaching their potential. In the same manner, we can kill the life of our own souls through mortal sins. As we strive to pamper and preserve this physical life we usually kill the spiritual life. Regardless of all our efforts, this physical life is passing away. We cannot stop it. The truly wise, look beyond the physical body and consider the hidden life of our souls. This hidden seed is the true life that we should nurture and develop even at the expense of our material lives.

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