Celebrate Sunday Mass - 2.27.22

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2/27/2022 (1 year ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

February 27, 2022 -- EIGHTH Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS on February 27th, 2022, in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas. Our readings for today's Holy Mass speak to us of bearing fruit for the Lord in the way we live our lives. The Image of a tree is used throughout todays scripture passages for Holy Mass. 

In our first reading, the wise sage of the Book of Sirach tells us that the "...fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one's speech disclose the bent of one's mind."

The Psalmist David, in Psalm 92, from which our Responsorial Psalm is taken, writes of a "just one": "The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow. They that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be..."

The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians exhorted them "...Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

The Gospel passage for this Sunday is taken from the sixth chapter of St. Luke. Jesus told His disciples: "A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."

We are the contemporary disciples of Jesus Christ.  We are called to bear good fruit for the Lord. Remember, the Risen Lord continues His Redemptive Mission through His Mystical Boy, the Church. He is the Head. We are members of that Body.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council Fathers - in their document on the Christian mission - Lumen Gentium, "Light to the Nations" - used a phrase which has been repeated many times since. They warned of the "separation between faith and life." They called it one of the "greatest errors of our age".

Do we live our faith in an integrated and morally coherent manner? Or do we separate our faith and relegate its effects only to what we do on Sunday? It is time to make an honest assessment of our lives. We should ask this question, "On what foundation are we building?" 

We are living in increasingly turbulent times There are fractures in the fabric of our civil order and deep wounds which must be healed. Our national economy is in an ongoing decline, in spite of the manipulation of malleable statistics and the banter of some economists who are propagandists for the delusion pushed by ideologues who foster a rosy picture when the thorns are evident. The facts simply get pushed to the side, Finally, there is little doubt that we went over the moral cliff long ago. All of this is connected because there is a moral foundation to authentic freedom. 

However, Christians need not be afraid. Our life together in the Lord, our connection together in Body of Christ, the Church, is meant to provide a place of shelter, not only for us, but for others who seek stability as the shaking continues all around.  Yes, the Church is also being shaken. However, that shaking is for her purification, fortification, and reform. The Apostle Peter reminded the early Christians undergoing persecution that judgment begins in the household of faith. (1 Peter 4:17) So too does the shaking (See, Heb 12).

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews also reminds us "we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe." (Heb 12:28) Through our Baptism we now live in the in the Body of Christ. All who bear the name Christian, even if we are divided, are somehow still joined together in that Church which is founded upon Jesus Christ. It is the only place of safety. The shaking will continue. False foundations, some of which have lulled even some believers into complacency, may soon fall under the stress caused by the growing unrest and decline. 

There is a place where we can stand secure and strong. And, from where we must reach out to those who are succumbing to the fear being unleashed in the hearts of men, women and Nations. That place has an unshakable foundation. That place is the Body of Christ, the Church. That is where we must stand - and stand together. Not to withdraw from the turbulence around us, but as the firm foundation from which we can bring stability and freedom to those who are beginning to fear what lies ahead and fight "the good fight of faith". (1 Tim. 6:12)

From that place of safety we can wage war together against the world, the flesh and the devil. From that place we can reach out to all men and women with the love of God, fully manifested in Jesus Christ. And from that place we can reach out to rebuild the foundations of authentic freedom and lead others along the path to the only lasting peace, the peace that comes from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.  

Have a Blessed Lords Day,

Deacon Keith Fournier, JD, MTS, MPhil
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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