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SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - Waking Up the Sleeping Giant

By Fr. James Farfaglia
July 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Everyone should be doing something.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - In 1949, John Currier was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1968, Currier's sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it.

Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.

Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier's plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.

Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message -- the most important in your life -- and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?

We who have heard the Gospel and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin.

Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?  

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest" (Luke 10: 2).

The famous Protestant Biblical scholar William Barclay writes: "Men need to discover the lost radiance of the Christian faith.  In a worried world, the Christian should be the only man who remains serene.  In a depressed world, the Christian should be the only man who remains full of the joy of life.

There should be a sheer sparkle about the Christian but too often he dresses like a mourner at a funeral, and talks like a spectator at a feast.  Wherever he is, if he is to be the salt of the earth, the Christian must be the diffuser of joy" (The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 121).

How can the Christian have these qualities?  How can he be an enthusiastic and dynamic laborer in the vineyard of the Lord?

The true Christian must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

This is precisely what Saint Paul constantly teaches us in his letters and we see this so clearly in this Sunday's second reading taken from Galatians.  "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6: 14).

The Christian must be seen.

 A secret Christian does not exist.

The conduct, joy, peace and enthusiasm of any true Christian will be visible for anyone to see.  Everyone will know who the true Christian is.  Every Christian must be a model and example of how everyone is to live their lives.

This past Friday we were given another wonderful gift.  Pope Francis published his first encyclical letter.  I highly recommend that you not only read it, but that you meditate upon its beautiful text, so rich in beautiful spirituality.  What is so unique about this encyclical its' first draft was developed by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis finished the text.

"Faith's new way of seeing things is centered on Christ.  Faith in Christ brings salvation because in him our lives become radically open to a love that precedes us, a love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us" (Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, 20).

My dear friends, we continue to journey through the Year of Faith which will end on the Solemnity of Christ the King in November.  During this special year, we are remembering the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Second Vatican reminded you, the laity, that you are called to holiness.  Holiness is possible for everyone. To be an effective laborer in the vineyard of the Lord, you have to be holy.
"It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in whatever state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity, and this holiness is conducive to a more human way of living even in society here on earth" (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 40).

Sometimes the laity may think that the attainment of holiness is impossible.

But, what is holiness?

To be holy, means that you are a real Christian.

A beautiful young saint showed the world how simple and how easy it is to be holy.  To do the ordinary things of life with extraordinary love: this was the glowing example of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus.

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest" (Luke 10: 2).

It is also true that a Christian is called to be active in the apostolic work of the Church.  The Second Vatican Council also reminded you that you are to be an active member of the Catholic Church.

Everyone should be able to say concretely what activity they are doing in the Church.

For example, what are you doing in your parish?  Just attending Mass on Sunday is not enough.  Teach CCD, work with the youth, do pro-life work, help raise funds, wash the floors, visit the sick, feed the hungry,  be an usher, a lector, an altar server, join the choir, help out in the sacristy.

Everyone should be doing something.

Not only are we to be active in our respective parishes, but the Second Vatican Council reminded that the mission of the laity is to sanctify the temporal order.

What is the temporal order?

The temporal order is your home, your neighborhood, your place of work, your school, the place where you do your shopping, the movie theatre, the golf course and the beach.

When you pull out of the parking lot of your parish, you enter into the temporal order.
It is your mission to sanctify the temporal order by the way you live your life and by your apostolic activity.

"There are innumerable opportunities open to the laity for the exercise of their apostolate of evangelization and sanctification. The very testimony of their Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have the power to draw men to belief and to God; for the Lord says, 'Even so let your light shine before men in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven' (Matt. 5:16).

However, an apostolate of this kind does not consist only in the witness of one's way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening and encouraging them to a more fervent life. 'For the charity of Christ impels us" (2 Cor. 5:14). The words of the Apostle should echo in all hearts, 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel' (1 Cor. 9:16).

Since, in our own times, new problems are arising and very serious errors are circulating which tend to undermine the foundations of religion, the moral order, and human society itself, this sacred synod earnestly exhorts laymen-each according to his own gifts of intelligence and learning - to be more diligent in doing what they can to explain, defend and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of our era in accordance with the mind of the Church" (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, II, 6).

The capital sin of sloth is the greatest obstacle to living an authentic Christian life.

Sloth is a disease of the will.

What happens to the individual ruled by sloth?

People controlled by sloth don't get anything accomplished.   People controlled by sloth are targets for every temptation that the devil has to offer.  They just lie there on the ground like cow manure covered with flies.  Flies can't stick to something that is moving fast.

Sloth is easy to recognize.

A sloppy appearance, a dirty house, potato chip crumbs on your shirt, dishes in your sink stacked up high and eyes glued to the TV a good part of your waking hours are all signs of a person governed by this terrible sin. 

Catholics controlled by sloth have no prayer life, never go to confession, blob out in church and wonder what might be the minimum that they have to do in order not to spend all of eternity in hell.

Christianity is quite different.

The deadly sin of sloth is Satan's greatest weapon because if every Catholic were to live the Gospel with authenticity, our country would change instantly.

"A new state of affairs today both in the Church and in social, economic, political and cultural life, calls with a particular urgency for the action of the lay faithful. If lack of commitment is always unacceptable, the present time renders it even more so. It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle" (Blessed Pope John Paul II, Christifidelis Laici, 3).

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest" (Luke 10: 2).

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