THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
9 July 2017
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The Sunday Sermon Archive
(This Sunday Sermon is from the 1996 Archives.)
Our Lord instructs His Disciples on some practical application of the command to love one's neighbor as oneself. In effect, He gets to the root of real religion by showing how we must act towards each other in order to act pleasingly towards God. Our Lord addresses the matter of anger perhaps because it is the most common and frequent offense provoked by another person.
St. Paul writes to the Ephesians: "Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole let him now steal no more. Let no evil speech proceed from your mouth; but that which is good, to the edification of faith, that it may administer grace to the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Be ye angry and sin not. It would be a good thing never to yield to anger. But should this feeling come upon one, let it be brief. Let not the sun go down on your anger. Do you want to satiate your anger? Then let it be for an hour or two, or even more. But do not let the sun go down and leave you at enmity. God permits us to experience the emotion of anger because anger is an emotion that has no opposite, but rather should teach us the disorder that lies in evil. Anger is, after all, an emotion experienced in the presence of an evil that has actually befallen us. Therefore, it is not only unnatural not to feel anger in the presence of evil, but it suggests an attitude of culpable indifference. Not to experience anger in the face of evil is impossible to a stable individual.
Those who are constantly harassing anyone who expresses anger in the face of evil such as deceit, lying and murder attempt to manipulate and subvert natural, healthy emotions. It is nothing short of diabolical because it means that man is being used for someone else's evil purposes. What are the ills of society if not the inflammation of emotions and passions for a wrong purpose. Instead of being inflamed with love for our neighbor, we are constantly being inflamed with hatred for him. And the very ones who are responsible for inflaming and fanning the misguided passions of men are the ones who are the perpetrators of most of the social evils in the world. They shout such slogans as "Never forget; never forgive!" Yet, these very people are the hidden hand that sets brother against brother in bloody wars and destruction. They single out certain individuals and by dint of massive propaganda inflame the undisciplined imaginations of those who will take of the sword against his neighbor by a misguided sense of "justice!"
What is even more repulsive is that such atrocities are cloaked by the otherwise respectable garb of "religion". Recently, a gang of Islamic extremists in Algiers kidnapped seven French Trappist monks and slit their throats. The monks were the last Trappists remaining in Algiers. What was the purpose of this outrageous atrocity? This small group of militant Muslims are fighting to turn Algeria into an Islamic state! Yet, in the United States, all we ever hear about are the alleged atrocities against Muslims in Bosnia! Since 1992, more than 40,000 have died in political and religious violence in Algeria.
This is a very common example of the kind of hatred inspired not by God, but by the devil. Nevertheless, the misguided militants invoke the name of their "God" to justify such obvious barbarism. Referring to whatever "negotiations" this militant group of madmen were trying to extort, their leader said: " They broke off the process and so we slit the throats of the monks. Thus we have executed our threat, as we swore to do before God." Before God!? What an absurdity! Is this the same "God'"Karol Wojtyla had everyone praying to in Assisi in 1986 - each "in his own way?" The French Prime Minister, Alain Juppe, is said to have added a personal plea for French nationals to leave Algeria as soon as possible. Logically, if we Christians are urged by Jesus Christ not to give place to the devil, we would have to conclude that the "God' of the Muslims is not the same God which we Christians worship. We ought not tolerate, then, the presence of demonic temples in our lands.
To be at war with each other is to give place to the devil. For where we should stand together and unite against him, our enmity against him has weakened, and we turn on one another instead. Nothing gives so much place to the devil as enmities. And those who foster such enmities by providing weapons wherewith to kill and destroy - who are they? Let us name them by name and not merely indulge in generalities. Let us name the providers of blood-baths; let us point the finger at the true servants of Satan who hide behind the blood money their instruments of death and destruction. These are the ones who serve Satan (Lucifer) and make a religion out of all that is against God and humanity.
So long as we are united one to another, the devil cannot insert his evil devices to create enmity among us. But the moment a rift is made he pours in like a torrent. He needs only a beginning, and this is the only problem he has: the beginning. However, once he gets beyond the beginning, the rest is easy. Once he enters the heart, he opens the ears to slanders; and those who speak lies are listened to because enmity is their advocate, not truth which reasons and judges. And where there is friendship, evils which are true seem untrue, so where there is enmity what is false will now seem true. There is now a different mind, a different judgment; which no longer listens justly, but only with bitterness and one-sidedness.
We who call ourselves "Christians" have a duty far greater than that of other men. Our Teacher has taught us not to let the sun go down on our anger. The reason is simple: If we do not overcome our anger on the first day, very often it will grow to the point that it will feed itself. It will lead to the twisting of words so as to give them a meaning they were not meant to have; gestures will be interpreted in a way to fan the flames of hatred, thus changing men into something worse than being mad, so that they cannot endure in their fury either to hear or to speak some name, and speaking only out of hatred and evil.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary Dissolve All Hatred and Anger!
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