3rd Sunday of Advent – The Priest as a Prophet

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Epistle from the letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Philippians
Phil 4:4-7
Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Gospel

Continuation ✠ of the Holy Gospel according to St. John
John 1:19-28
At that time, the Jews sent to John from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who are you? And he acknowledged and did not deny; and he acknowledged, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Are you Elias? And he said, I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No. They therefore said to him, Who are you? that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say of yourself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as said Isaias the prophet. And they who had been sent were from among the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, Why, then, do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John said to them in answer, I baptize with water; but in the midst of you there has stood One Whom you do not know. He it is Who is to come after me, Who has been set above me, the strap of Whose sandal I am not worthy to loose. These things took place at Bethany, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

My dear friends, today we see again, the figure of the prophet, St. John the Baptist, instructing us regarding the coming of our Lord.

In St. John, according to the words of Our Lord himself, we see the last prophet of the Old Testament, and at the same time, the first one of the New Testament.

The word and the concept of “prophet” and “prophecy” are often misunderstood or taken out of context. Most people think that a prophet is a man who sees the future. But as a matter of fact, this is but one fragment, and not the most important one of the man who has been given the role of prophecy.

A prophet is a representative of God. It is a spokesman. A person who speaks instead of someone else.

And the functions of the prophet are several:

1.- To instruct the people regarding the doctrine of God.

2.- To correct them, when they sin and step away from the path of salvation.

3.- To encourage them and console them.

4.- In the old testament and new testament, to deliver the revelations that were received.

If you pay attention to these duties, you will come to realize that the office of the Prophet, is in fact, identical with the office of the Priest.  Revelation excluded, since the Priest does not, and cannot come with new revelations, all the other points are actually continued,  in the Church of Christ through the Priesthood.

We could say, that the prophets of the old testament  fulfilled the role of Priests in regards preaching, and that the Catholic Priesthood is the continuation of the office of prophecy, which existed in the Old Testament.

The reason why I bring this up, is to bring home to you an aspect of the Priesthood that is at once fearful for the Priest, but terribly necessary for the faithful.

The Priest has not, and cannot have control, on what he teaches. He does not make decisions on morality, or faith. He is bound, to tell the faithful the truth, and this, under the peril of losing his soul should he fail to do so.

This is a fearful responsibility.

For the faithful on the other hand, that Priest will be more useful and better, who true to his duty, speaks clearly what God has entrusted to him, and passes on, without adulteration, without watering it down, what God wants his people to hear.

It is not pleasant for us to listen to these things, sometimes. But the more unpleasant these admonitions are, the most useful. To heal an infection, one must go at the root of the wound, and quite often, the better the healing, the more painful it is.

To illustrate this, allow me to share with you the words that God himself addresses to the Prophet, in Ezekiel chapter three.  This words are fitting, to Priests, to the Prophets, and also, to Parents.

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman to [them]:

 and thou shalt hear the word out of my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me.

If, when I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: thou declare it not to him, nor speak to him, that he may be converted from his wicked way, and live: the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.

But if thou give warning to the wicked, and he be not converted from his wickedness, and from his evil way: he indeed shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Moreover if the just man shall turn away from his justice, and shall commit iniquity: I will lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die, because thou hast not given him warning: he shall die in his sin, and his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: but I will require his blood at thy hand. But if thou warn the just man, that the just may not sin, and he doth not sin: living he shall live, because thou hast warned him, and thou hast delivered thy soul.”

From this we see, that my salvation as a Priest, and your salvation as a Parent, depends on whether if you have warned, corrected, whenever it was needed. And this warning must be clear, and specific. It must be a serious call, without equivocation.

We saw this happen with St. John. In his sermon, which is found in the third chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke,  we see St. John giving very specific details to those who listened to him.

People of different traits came and asked him the question: “Master, what are we to do?”

And he instructed them, each according their particular traits and duties.

What will I say, my dear friends, if you were to ask me: “Father, what are we to do?” “What are we to do to save our souls, to prepare for the coming of our Lord?”

I will say to you, first: Men and women, if there is something that is a cause of sin for you, an occasion of sin, you must get rid of it, destroy it, abandon it, whatever it takes, whatever inconvenience comes from it. Whether it be a device, a friendship, a job, a phone number. Cut and destroy, as would in war, for from that might depend the salvation of your soul.

Men, you must fulfill your religious duties and obligations. You must teach your children the Catholic Faith, you must attend Mass, you must pray the rosary. You are the first example of virtue in your house, and therefore must strive to be an exemplar Catholic. Your life must have discipline and order, and if you are a parent, you are to correct and train your children lovingly, and patiently, no matter how hard it might seem. Their souls will be demanded of you if they are lost because you didn’t warn and corrected them properly.

Women, you must pray every day, and keep modesty. All clothing that is unbecoming of a holy Christian Woman you should discard, remember you are not your own property, but you belong to Christ, and as such you must dress and behave.  Refrain from idle conversations, be good, and honest and gentle. Obey your husbands, and honor them and respect them. Not for their personal qualities, regardless of whether if they have them or not, but out of a religious duty to God. Bring your children up to discipline, and religion, and duties, correct them and punish them if need be. Be cheerful and happy, renounce the world, its music and its news, and embrace the cross of your savior, for your own salvation.

Children, obey your parents, honor them, respect them, always repent and ask for forgiveness if you fail in this. Ask your parents to teach you the Catholic Doctrine. Ask them for correction and for advice. Help them materially, physically, spiritually. Smile and be cheerful towards them, and always think of yourself as a servant of your parents, whether if you are 18, 30 or 40 years old. Pray on your own, even if you are called to pray by your parents or not and reject the world, and bad friendships.

It is not lawful, for a parent to provide cell phones, internet, T.V. or other devices to their children for their personal use. Such things are not necessary, and are a great risk. As a parent, if you do so, you re endangering your children’s salvation. I as a Priest condemn that practice, and I am not responsible if you do so, you have been warned.

It is not lawful for a good Christian, to allow in their homes entertainment venues which provide with immorality and indecency, whether it be bad movies, access to streaming media, or gaming. Much less should this be allowed to be accessed by children.  Neither should adults acquire such things. Particularly Netflix, and the things that come with it, are not allowed in a Christian Home, since, as far as I understand one is to pay for this platform, which is openly satanic, and carries openly satanic content. As a Priest, I condemn that as well, and I am not responsible if you cooperate with it. You have been warned.

This we are to do. And most importantly, in doing so, we are but doing what is best for us.  We are ensuring our salvation. What? Am I going to put in a balance, immodest clothing on the one side, and heaven on the other? Netflix on the one side, and Christ on the cross on the other? How can I compare, even put in the same measure any of these things, with My Lord, My God, My Creator, and My whole eternity?

My children, No prophet enjoyed telling the people things that they don’t want to hear. No Priest wishes either to make life difficult for his children. But at the same time, no Priest or Prophet should be willing to lose his soul, to please men. If you, any of you were to perish, or your children went to hell, because I didn’t warn you of what you were to do, I would go to hell. And you or your children with me.

I do not want to see that. Instead I warn you, and now you are accountable yourself before God. Listen to this advice, put it in practice. Let us all go together to heaven. Let us all be prepared to receive our Lord.

St. John the Baptist pointed his finger towards Christ. I, before finishing this sermon, will point it towards Our Blessed Mother. Go to her I tell you, and you will find salvation easily and cheerfully. Have daily devotion, Love, Honor, Memory of Mary, Pray the rosary without fail every day, out of love for her, trusting in her, and trying at the same time to please God. Make her indispensable in your house, indispensable to your children, to your family, to your work. Men, pray to her every day: Women, bring those around you to her. Going to her, you cannot err. It is only through her, that Our Lord Jesus Christ comes.

In Nomine Patris…

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