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Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Reflection from Fr. Tom: Are you abiding in one serious unrepented sin?

Is this your message to Jesus Christ?
Below is a reflection I am having printed in next Sunday’s bulletin. I am ever fearful of accepting Satan’s standing offer to pastors – Satan will grant a pastor a flourishing and vibrant parish, provided each of his parishioners be allowed to abide in one serious unrepented sin.

In Christ,

Fr. Tom Collins
One hundred years ago at Fatima, Our Blessed Mother warned of the seriousness of the sin of  Catholics, who refused or failed to participate with reverence, attention and devotion at Sunday Mass. The Third of the Ten Commandment directs us to keep holy the Lord’s Day. For those who are members of the Catholic Church, obedience to this requires, unless there is a serious reason preventing a person from joining in this worship, participation each week at Sunday Mass. Since God is the perfection of integrity, communion with Him and others through regular reverent worship of Him is essential for growing in integrity, both as individuals and as a community. Failure to worship Him gradually leads to spiritual malnutrition and the perversion of one’s soul, mind, body and relationships. Thus it is not surprising that the decline in regular Sunday worship in our nation has been paralleled by a concomitant disintegration of the moral fabric of our nation.

Perhaps we need to note that the first step to making America great again is to draw Americans to repent again in the light of the whole truth of God. For those who refuse to be governed by God, will be ruled by tyrants, political tyrants as well as moral tyrants (i.e., addictions to resentments, rancor and perversions).

Catholics in America are especially in danger due to this negligence. Statistical surveys in recent years reveal that Catholics are no exception to this trend, with less than 30% of Catholics making a serious effort to fulfill their Sunday obligation each week. And our problem is more serious than that experienced by other Christian communions. For the Mass is the actual re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Thus a dismissive attitude toward the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is actually an assertion that Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation is not really all that important. Likewise, refusal to accept His invitation to participate in His Eucharistic banquet at Mass is also an assertion that one does not really want to participate in the eternal heavenly banquet in the Kingdom of God (cf., Lk 14:15-24). After all, some assert, there are too many distractions and thrills available for a person to “waste his time at worship”.

All these assertions are serious insults to God’s gracious love and mercy. For this reason, the authentic teaching of the Church asserts that they are serious sins, which must sincerely repented and forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Christ in Holy Communion. Otherwise, as in the case of other serious sins, a person who receives Holy Communion while in the
state of unrepented serious sin, commits the sin of sacrilege (cf. I Cor 11:27-32).

Thus it is that those who routinely and glibly say, “Not now,” to Christ’s invitation to participate in His Eucharistic banquet each Sunday, if they do not repent and seriously change their attitudes and lifestyle, put themselves in grave spiritual danger. And when they pass through the doors of death, they may find themselves eternally among those who are forever saying, “Not now” to Christ’s invitation to eternal life and joy. We must remember that, in the afterlife, the only alternative to Christ’s Kingdom is Satan’s kingdom of everlasting and ever-metastasizing torments in all dimensions of one’s being and relationships.

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