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Sunday, August 16, 2015

The World is Perishing: Turn Back to God.

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug. 16, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”
In today’s Mass we continue reading the Gospel of John 6:51-58 on the Bread of Life. 
In this passage, Our Lord had some things to say that were difficult for the Jewish people to accept. After performing the miracle of the loaves and fish, Our Lord invited the crowd to come to Him to eat the “living Bread.”  He promised to give them His flesh to eat. The Jews quarreled and murmured… They said, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 
The people did not understand and were even offended.They thought Our Lord was speaking of cannibalism.  But He was not. He was not speaking about eating His dead flesh  and blood. He was speaking of His Heavenly Body.
Jesus’ disciples did not understand either, which we will hear in next week’s Gospel.  In fact, it was not until after Our Lord had risen from the dead and after He celebrated the Last Supper that the disciples would come to fully understand that Jesus is the living Bread that came down from heaven.

My brothers and sisters, as Catholics we believe that Our Lord Jesus is the Living Bread come down from heaven! Our Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth, suffered in the flesh and rose again in the flesh so that our souls can be healed. 
 He has given us a new life that begins at our Baptism, and this new life is brought toward perfection by our participation in the Holy Eucharist with a renewed desire to live for God. 
Ever since the fall of humanity our human nature has become corrupted. We have brought death into our human nature because we have learned to deny the dignity of God within ourselves through original sin. 
Sin is rooted in man’s preference for himself over God. Making a choice to sin leads to weakening of the soul and a propensity to continue to sin. A good example of this in our time is pornography. When we view this filth, it enters into our minds, and later, when we least expect it, the thoughts come back. They tempt us.  
And it is so easy today to fall into the temptation of pornography because pornography has tentacles reaching into virtually every home in America, which makes this vice always just a click away.
We are to strive to overcome this and other sins of the flesh by going to confession and receiving Our Lord frequently in the Holy Eucharist. We need to fill our minds with things that are pure and holy. As Saint Paul says in today’s second reading (Ephesians 5:15-20), we are to be be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in [our] hearts.” We are called to learn to recognize our weakness and temptations so that we can call on the Lord’s name when the evil one is on attack. We need to be spiritually prepared because the evil one in full force in our world today. 
In fact, we live in a time and culture when the evil one is gaining more souls than ever. 
Homosexuality, adultery, sex outside marriage, pornography… All of these sins of the flesh, which are becoming common and widespread in our culture, are separating many souls from their relationship with God. 
We separate ourselves from God’s grace also when we use contraception because we take God out of the love act. We turn the love act into an act of the flesh by artificially blocking God’s grace from the act.  
My brothers and sisters, when we corrupt our bodies through immorality, we pervert the dignity of our human bodies from the original holiness God created in us, and we deny the redemptive action of Christ that is offered to us through His suffering in the flesh. 
Saint Paul says, “Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.”
These days are days of evil!  The devil is gaining many souls today though our culture by deceiving us to believe that sin is not sin. He is encouraging us to use our flesh in ways that destroy not only our flesh but the eternal Spirit that lives inside us! For, the devil wants to twist, distort, and destroy God’s creation. That is his goal, and he is having much success. 
I am sure that most of us have heard of the recent revelations that Planned Parenthood has been selling aborted baby parts. The very flesh that God created to have life in this world and to be redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ is not only being murdered before birth, but its unborn flesh is being sold in our world for profit! In fact, it has been revealed that some aborted baby remains sold by Planned Parenthood go to biotech companies for the purpose of creating "humanized" mice.   Seriously!
 My brothers and sisters, the world we live
in today is perishing because it is a world that has turned away from God. 
But Our Lord has come into our world to save those who will listen to Him. He has given us His flesh in the Holy Eucharist so that we will no longer live for the world but will have life eternal. For “whoever eats [His] flesh and drinks [His] blood [worthily] has eternal life, and [He] will raise him on the last day." 
May each one of us continually strive to receive Our Lord Jesus worthily in the Holy Eucharist so that we may grow in the grace of God and be given the promise of eternal redemption. God bless you.

Did you enjoy this sermon, Fr. Shea has more! Baptism is Only the Beginning 


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