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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008

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Fr.Paul Weinberger

Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008 Reply with quote

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008
Homily by:
Father Paul Weinberger, Pastor
St. William the Confessor Catholic Church
Greenville, Texas
August 24, 2008

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit


It was my good fortune twice, when I was at Blessed Sacrament to have a man come and speak. He is probably someone you have heard on the radio for Catholic Answers or other Catholic radio programs such as EWTN TV. His name is Patrick Madrid and he has written many books, but one book that is especially helpful today is on the many fictions and lies that people tell about the pope. The title of the book is “Pope Fiction”. It is a play on the words. “Pulp Fiction.”

It is so popular to spread lies about the pope and when many Catholics hear the lies they merely roll over and take it. This book by Patrick Madrid contains thirty myths and misconceptions about the pope. This book can be found easily on the Internet or in our bookstore. I want to read to you the opening lines of the forward of the book, which brings up the circumstances of Patrick Madrid when he began to return to the Catholic Church. He was raised Catholic and then left the faith. He and his wife were protestant.

My wife sat at the opposite end of the couch from me, not to mention at the opposite end of the theological spectrum. We were both evangelical Protestants then. She was firmly convinced that the reformation was right and I was feeling a growing suspicion that it wasn’t. With books on the Early Church Fathers, Mary, and the Sacraments strewn around out living room we began to watch the video of Pope John Paul II and his visit to Denver in 1993. As he made his entrance into Mile High Stadium with the crowd waving enthusiastically, my eyes followed the Holy Father as he circled the stadium in the Pope Mobile. I was mesmerized as I observed the dynamic relationship between this man from Rome and the diverse crowd assembled there to greet him. My heart began to beat faster and faster and suddenly and quite unexpectedly I started to cry. With tears running down my face and this burst of emotion flowing from my heart I wanted to stand up and proclaim to those in the stadium, “I know what you know; he (the Pope) is the Vicar of Christ.” Confused by my tears my wife asked, “What’s the matter with you?” I looked at her and said, “You don’t understand; you weren’t raised catholic.” Pointing to the image of the pope on the television I exclaimed, “That is not Billy Graham or Pat Robertson or Oral Roberts; he is the Vicar of Christ, my Father in the faith.”

Patrick Madrid was a protestant pastor and became a Catholic. He saw the pope as the Shepherd of the Church and many Catholics fail to make this connection.

Yesterday we had a funeral and at the funeral as is so customary Psalm 23 was read.

The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want.

Even on the hottest day when I hear that Psalm, it seems to cut the temperature by at least ten degrees. What a beautiful Psalm.

The Lord is my Shepherd but He is not a Shepherd in a vague way; He continues to guide His flock today through the pope, the Successor of St. Peter. Over two hundred and fifty have succeeded St. Peter as pope and this is important. Think about it. When your friends talk about the pope, Catholic and non-Catholic, they consider him as a mere human invention. Wake up! Is there any other human invention that has lasted…kept running for two thousand years. There is no government; the great Roman Empire fell apart and St. Augustine is the one who picked up the pieces and kept them for us. There is no government and no country that has been sustained over a period of two thousand years except for one and that is the Papacy…the Pope.

If you look at the First Reading today from the Prophet Isaiah, God says to Shebna, the master of the palace,

I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station.

No, he is not getting kicked out of his cubicle. The word “office” here means his position and his power. Notice at the bottom it says,

I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut when he shuts, no one shall open.

Remember when Jesse was presenting his sons to see which one God had chosen to be king? None of them were fit to be kind until they sent for the one who was tending the sheep; David was chosen. God knew that David was a shepherd and for that reason he was chosen to be king of Israel. That business about the key and when he opens no one shall shut and when he shuts no one shall open…now look at the Gospel. Jesus said to St. Peter,

I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

If you would turn and look toward the rear of the Church, there is a window that has two large keys and around the keys in a stole, which represents the office of the priest. That is the Confession window, the power to bind and loose. But, if I were to go over to the Vatican flag here and unfurl it you would see two large keys as well. These symbolize the pope and his role as Successor of Saint Peter.

What Our Lord does in the Gospel today is to go from the general to the specific. He does what many people do today too often; He is taking a poll.

Who do people say that I am?

Notice that every answer is wrong. The queen of opinions today in this country is of course Oprah Winfrey. One day she has an opinion and the next day she will have another and the next day another and every opinion is equal to every other opinion even if they are contradictory. If you go on her web site, which I do not recommend, she has “A Course in Miracles.” This will take you far away from the truth, far away from the Church, but it sounds so convincing because she has it all planned out there. Again, she is probably the best example of a Queen of Opinion, maybe an Oracle of Opinion, if you will.

Jesus is very specific when he asks,

Who do you say that I am?

St. Peter says,

You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Look over at the next window and you can see a large hand coming down with a halo around it. This represents the hand of God the Father. What Jesus is telling us in this Gospel is that flesh and blood had not revealed this to St. Peter. Now, how did St. Peter get the answer to the question? Did he just look in the back at the answer key? No, Jesus tells us that His Heavenly Father has revealed it. We can see the hand of God in this answer and that God chose this weak man, this fisherman from Galilee to be the shepherd of the flock. Remember that this was the man that would later go on to deny Christ three times on Holy Thursday night/Good Friday morning; then after His death and resurrection, that conversation between Jesus and St. Peter?

Peter, do you love Me?

Yes, Lord, You know that I love You!

Feed My lambs. Peter, do you love Me?

Yes Lord, You know that I love You

Feed My sheep!

This is to build St. Peter up for his triple denial, for his triple affirmation that he is to be the shepherd.

Looking back over 250 men, who have been chosen by God to be the Shepherd of the Church until Christ comes to judge the living and the dead, there have been a handful, who have been stinkers, especially around the time of the Renaissance. Some had mistresses and children.

This is shocking!

Yes, it is shocking but what is amazing and consoling is that none of this handful of 250 plus men who have had this position and were stinkers come out and say that they way they were living was ordained by God. No, they knew it was wrong but were doing it anyway. In fact, when you look through the list of men, who have been successors of St. Peter, many of them died martyrs, professing their faith in Jesus Christ. So many were martyrs but many like to focus on the few, who were very misguided. But, the misguided ones never taught against the faith or took the Church down a different road and away from the faith.

We have the ability in 2008 to understand what God wants of you and me, and that is everything from the moment we are conceived to the moment we die. Popes, in especially the last forty years have been preaching on this very specifically. If someone does not care to listen to the Shepherd then they will find themselves far from the security of the fold.

We just had the 40th Anniversary of Humane Vitae, which talks about how life is precious from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural life. A lot of Catholics do not believe that and it is to their peril. If the sheep are not going to follow the shepherd they could easily fall into the gates if Hell. This is no mere symbolic symbol of speech. If you look at the Gospel it says,

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples,

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

Jesus is addressing his Apostles and if you consider it in your mind’s eye, there are the Apostles and Jesus is in front of them, teaching them and the backdrop is the opening of this very large mouth of a cave. The people of that area called this, not the gates of the nether world, that is our translation, but the gates of Hell. They probably called it the gates if Hell to keep certain ones out of that cave…B..O..Y..S!

Oh you can go in there but those are the gates of Hell. You sure you want to go in there?

Jesus is speaking to this little flock in front of this large opening and they seem so insignificant in comparison to this huge, natural outcropping of rocks and Jesus says,

I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will guild my Church and the gates of the nether world (hell) shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

This is tremendously consoling to Patrick Madrid and to anyone else, who is willing to extend themselves even this much to study it. It is not something that human beings have manufactured. If that were true it would have disappeared like the Pharos of Egypt. They were very powerful and they reigned a long time, but not to this very day, not two thousand years like this institution, which the Hand of God has designed. It is from His Hand that we have the Papacy.

After the French Revolution, Napoleon was speaking to a cardinal and was threatening to destroy the church. The cardinal shot back very quickly.

“So, you think you are going to be able to destroy the Church when so many bishops and priests have been unable to?

With so many people against the Church and this little flock continues to endure, you have to be deaf, blind, and dumb not to see the Hand of God and yet many Catholics consider whatever the pope says to be mere opinion and that is very dangerous because they start considering the wolf to be just another friend or playmate and before long the sheep are going to end up on the lunch table of the wolf.

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

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