"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fr. Campbell- The Certainty of Faith

The Certainty of Faith

On Tuesday, February 2, we will have the last celebration of the Christmas cycle with the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By God’s design Our Lady submitted herself to the requirements of the Old Law, even though she was not personally in need of any purification. We who do need to be freed from our sins must also submit ourselves to what God requires of us.

The old catechism states the purpose of our life here on earth: God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next. That being true, I must do whatever it takes to avoid sin and to save my soul.

How does our salvation begin? St. John makes a wonderful statement about the beginning of our salvation in his Gospel: 

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (Jn.3:16).

Our salvation begins with belief. We must have faith in God’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He is entirely unique among those who ever walked this earth. There was never any human person who could in any way measure up to Him, because He is a Divine Person. He is a man, but He is also God, the God-Man. When He speaks, is He worthy of belief? Absolutely! How can we not believe God, who is Absolute Truth? How could Absolute Truth tell a lie? We believe with the certainty of faith what He has revealed to us. Jesus was not just a man with a message. He was God speaking to His people. We have the testimony of St. Paul in Hebrews:

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world; who being the brightness of his glory and the image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, has effected man’s purgation from sin and taken his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Heb.1:1-3).

To the Pharisees who did not believe that He was the Messiah, Jesus had this to say:

“You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sin” (Jn.8:23,24).

Even in His human nature, Jesus Christ was perfect. His body and soul were without any defect whatsoever. He did not even suffer from colds or the flu, or from the usual childhood diseases. Although no man or woman could be His equal, the Blessed Virgin Mary shared in this immunity because she was without sin or fault of any kind. 

Jesus proved His Divinity by the great miracles He performed. But many deny the reality of the miracles. Those who have faith believe in God’s word. Jesus turned water into wine. He walked on water, He healed the sick and raised the dead, and He Himself rose gloriously from the dead after suffering Crucifixion and Death upon the Cross.

We who struggle with sin and temptation must draw closer to this Man who was above every sin, and whom no temptation could touch. What a sad and terrible end, to die in one’s sins, as Jesus said about the Pharisees who opposed Him and did not believe. We must instead share in His perfection. We must share in His purity and holiness. How can we do that?

Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments Our Lord comes to us still. He has given His Church the power to do what He did. Through Baptism we become members of the Holy Church He founded. Our sins are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance, which we commonly call Confession. Through the Holy Mass we celebrate the Mysteries of His Life, Death, and Resurrection, and we receive Our Lord whole and entire, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, at Holy Communion.  

During His time on this earth Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, lived a life of humility and poverty. He was not born in the perfumed boudoirs of the rich, but in a smelly stable among the poorest of the poor. He did not ride in a comfortable carriage, but walked the dusty roads of this world to bring us the message of the Gospel. He was the most beautiful among the sons of men (Ps.44:3), but “he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity” (Is.53:3), and He died on a Cross like a criminal to save us from the fires of Hell.

For the sake of saving our souls, we must strive for the same humility as our Master, and not be enslaved by the things of this world. St. Paul gives us the advice we need:

“Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who though he was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross. Therefore God also has exalted him and has bestowed upon him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:5-11).