…..THERE IS NO EXCUSE…..

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I start this with wanting to wish everyone an open mind, open heart, and in hopes it may call those who read it to action.

This is not my normal sermon, nor one I hoped as a cleric to ever have to write. See, I believed that if I gave out The Word, as I have been commanded to…spoke of peace, love, tolerance, and understanding…hope, joy, and the promises my Master gave…that it would somehow inspire and move people enough to realize what I have been trying to do and say all these years…

Sadly, I see little of what I had hoped for.

See, I look at my feed on facebook and what do I see? Politics…this candidate is wrong, this one is right… hatred of this race, love of this one….recipes for cakes….cartoons (and not that I am against those, you understand…for I too have a wicked sense of humor) but I see THESE types as decrying one thing or another in hopes of swaying someone to believe one set of ideals or another…politics or anger at some social thing.

I had hoped to see “I went to this shelter, and fed this many” or “I saw this person in need, and I helped them”..yes, I have seen one or two like that, and it always stirs me….but winter is coming, you see.

The forecasters have said this will be one of the most brutal winters on record…how it will be severe with snow, cold, and well below zero temperatures…and I think of all those who have nothing, or nowhere to go.

This world has become so jaded, so scared of itself, that good people cannot do anything for fear of being robbed, or attacked, or hated for doing GOOD things.

Take me, for instance.

I have been preaching love, understanding, healing….for 8 years now. Every day I wake up to an inbox filled with hatred of the vilest sort. Anger at who I am..what I do…who I help…and these attackers all go by one name: Christian.

How can that be?

How can they justify attacking someone who is only doing what is right? Doing what Christ TOLD us to do?

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – Mark 16:15

I remember an old saying “If God be for us, who can stand against us?” (BTW: they took that from Romans 8:31, just to be clear) …and yet they seldom embody the principles and instructions He gave to us to help one another.

I see governments passing laws making it illegal to be poor or homeless….I see them keeping people so afraid to help ANYONE because of the colour of their skin…or their religion…or where they are from…

Sad really, when you think about it.

We used to pride ourselves on the quality of our hearts, of our generosity…now we measure ourselves by the bank ledger, or goods we own…

I have tried to set the example…I have no money, nor property, yet I give all that I find (be it the pennies others have dropped on the sidewalk, or the extra can of soup in the larder) to any who have naught regardless of their colour, or race, or religion…

…I had hoped this would inspire others to do the same.

My Master set out what He expected of us in a parable…

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” – Matthew 25:31-45

“But”, you say “The government has made it illegal to help the poor”…..

Who rules your heart?

Who do you put your hope in?

Who promises you life…is it the government? Or God…?

When you appear before God in Judgement, how will you justify your actions? Will you say “It was not convenient at the time”..? THIS WILL NOT DO…you cannot set aside the dictates of God for the laws of man…

Even my Master said “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:25 …yes, pay your taxes…yes, obey the law of the land…but when the law of the land tries to negate the law of God, then you must choose.

Sure, it may mean a jail time, or fine…heck, I myself have been cautioned by the police on several occasions about feeding the homeless….but have I stopped? No.

I am not strictly speaking about MEN…for homeless is not limited to mankind…

I am talking about those animals whom God entrusted us to care for as well.

I see stray dogs, cats…I feed them as well..

And yes, I have been cautioned about THEM as well…

It is NOT convenient for me to be arrested, or locked up for going against their laws….for many here would miss my presence…however, I cannot name ONE SINGLE PERSON who would be angry with me FOR doing what I do.

I cannot see one person rebuking me for following the laws of God rather than the laws of man….

So, if I can do it…what’s stopping YOU?

This winter promises to be bitter…that is fact…so…what can YOU do? I am sure there is at least one or two cans of food that would not go amiss from YOUR larder..there is probably a blanket or clothing that is in your closet that YOU can live without…..

Or, to put it the way my Master said…

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.

Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper.

‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”” – Luke 10:26-37

I say to you all…for every one of you who have come to me for aid, solace, or comfort…for spiritual knowledge, or relief from life’s pain….for every one of you who came to me that I have never turned away…for the times I spent leaving my own rest so that I could help you find your’s…for ignoring my own problems so that I could make your’s go away….

“GO, AND DO LIKEWISE”….

SAINT OF THE DAY: 21 OCTOBER, 2015

Saint Hilarion

Patriarch of the Solitaries of Palestine
(† 372)

Saint Hilarion

Saint Hilarion was born of pagan parents near Gaza, and was converted while studying grammar in Alexandria.

He renounced games, the theater and all the vain amusements of young people, to attend the reunions of his fellow Christians.

He desired to see the great Saint Anthony in the desert and went to Egypt, where he remained near him for two months.

He carefully observed everything in his life and conduct — his affability, his gentleness towards others and his severity towards himself, then returned to Palestine with a few solitaries to settle his affairs.

His father and mother had both died, and he kept nothing of his heritage for himself. At this time he was only fifteen years old.

Despite his youth and delicate health, he retired to a desert; he practiced severe mortification, tempted continually by the demons expending all their efforts to make him abandon this life of total renouncement.

He redoubled his austerities, tilled the ground and, following the example of the Egyptian monks, made baskets of reeds and willow branches.

He lived first in a cabin of reeds, then in one of clay, so low and narrow that it seemed more like a tomb than a lodging for a young man.

He learned all of Holy Scripture by heart and repeated it with admirable devotion.

When thieves approached him one day he told them he did not fear them, because he had nothing to lose, and death did not alarm him since he was ready to die.

They were so touched by his answers they promised him to abandon their life of pillage.

He soon began to work miracles by his prayers, and visitors made their way to his former solitude.

Several remained nearby to become his disciples, and thus gave rise to the monastic life in Palestine, of which Hilarion is regarded as the founder.

Saint Anthony esteemed him highly, sometimes wrote him letters, and sent to him the sick persons who came to him from Syria, telling them they had no need to make so long a journey.

Saint Hilarion was a master exorcist and healer of all illnesses, but he refused all remuneration for his assistance, saying to his visitors from the city that they were better placed than he to distribute in alms the money they were offering him.

Frequently the scattered solitaries of Palestine came to him to listen to his instructions, and he also visited them. The pagans too gathered around him.

His exhortations to abandon idolatry were so powerful that on one occasion a group of Saracens promised to convert, asking him to send them a priest to baptize them and establish a church.

One day, accompanied by three thousand persons who were following him, he blessed the vine of a solitary who received him.

The vine furnished a triple harvest and all in the crowd were well nourished.

Saint Hilarion found his solitude transformed into a city, and decided at the age of sixty-five to go elsewhere.

His Palestinian disciples attempted to change his mind without success, and taking with him only forty monks, he set out for Egypt on foot. Saint Anthony had recently died, and he wished to visit the places where he had dwelt.

After spending some time in Egypt, he went with only two religious to a village a few days’ distance from Babylon.

He remained only a short time there also, afterwards going elsewhere, and everywhere assisting those who had recourse to his prayers. In Sicily he delivered a demoniac, and then a crowd came to surround him once again.

In Dalmatia he worked still more miracles, and saved a city from being engulfed by tidal waves raised by an earthquake.

These traditions are still alive in the regions where he passed.

He tried many times to live unknown but never could succeed.

Saint Hilarion died in 372 on the island of Cyprus, at the age of seventy years. His last words were: Go forth, my soul; why dost thou doubt? Nigh seventy years hast thou served God, and dost thou fear death?

His body was found incorrupt some time afterwards, and was transported to Palestine to his original monastery.

Saint Jerome was his original biographer.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12)

COMMENTARY ON THE READING: 21 OCTOBER, 2015

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Commentary on the reading of the day provided by 

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532),

Bishop in North Africa

Sermon 1, 2-3; CCL 91A, 889

“Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1Cor 4,1)

In order to clarify the role of the servants he set at the head of his people, the Lord spoke this word related by the Gospel: “Who, then is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so”…

If we should be wondering in what that food allowance consists, Saint Paul gives us the answer; it is “the measure of faith that God has apportioned” (Rom 12,3).

What Christ called an allowance of food, Paul termed a measure of faith to teach us that there is no other spiritual food than the mystery of Christian faith.

We give you this allowance of food in the Lord’s name every time we speak to you according to the rule of the true faith, illumined by the spiritual gift of grace.

As for that allowance, you receive it at the hands of the Lord’s stewards each time you hear the word of truth from the mouth of God’s servants.

May that food allowance God shares among us be our nourishment.

Let us draw from it the solid food of our worthy behaviora so that we may come to the reward of eternal life.

Let us believe in him who gives himself as food to us for fear we may collapse on the way (Mt 15,32) and who reserves himself to be our reward so that we may find joy when we reach our homeland.

Let us believe and hope in him; let us love him above all and in all.

For Christ is our food and will be our reward.

Christ is the nourishment and comfort of travelers on their way; he is the contentment and rejoicing of the blessed in their repose.

READING OF THE DAY: 21 OCTOBER, 2015

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.

You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”

And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute (the) food allowance at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.

Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.

But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk,then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.

That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”” – Luke 12:39-48.