"They took another way home"
A murderous Pharisee and persecutor of Christians in the 1st C, is thrown to the ground and blinded by a streak of light....eventually to become a Christian and soon after beheaded for the faith. St. Paul!
A Catholic mother in the 4th C, spends about 30 of her 56 years on earth, praying that her non baptized son, following a heretical cult and living an unchaste life will become a Catholic. He later does become a Catholic and soon a priest, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St. Augustine!
A young man of a wealthy influential family of the 12/13 C has a change of heart and takes all his father had given him and sells it to the poor, only to be imprisoned by his father. This young man would soon escape and in a public square disrobe and say, "from this moment forth, I am no longer Francis, son of Pietro di Bernardone, but Francis, child of God!"...clothed with a robe of the Bishop, who was at the public spectacle, and went on to live a life of poverty, rebuilding the Church. St Francis of Assisi!
Finally, a Jewish atheist of the 20th C pursues studies in philosophy and by the witness of many, including the life of St. Theresa di Avila, becomes a Carmelite cloistered nun and eventually led with her sister to a concentration camp and killed in a the so called "showers" or better known as gas chambers. St. Edith Stein!
They were going the wrong way, but went another way home!
These four saints all were lost and had no direction at one point in their life. However, they soon took another way home. In todays Gospel, the Magi also take another way home. They were supposed to return to Herod with news of the infant Jesus whereabouts. However, after the dream, they discerned Gods will and realized that Herod no idea of doing homage but rather homicide! They instead took another way home!
My brothers and sisters, the saints and magi took another way home for one reason! That reason is Jesus Christ! They all met Jesus Christ. They met the Savior! Their lives were changed after meeting Jesus and and allowing him to do so. They then took another way home!!!
Today, I have a question for all of you. Are you going the right way home? Are you heading in the right direction toward eternal life?
Now, many of us may think we are heading in the right direction, and perhaps we are. However, we are not saints yet! We dont have the intials, "St." before our names! We need to be careful if we think we are all set. Many say, "Ive been a Catholic all my life." "I go to Mass all the time!" Thats great, but be careful about thinking we have it all together and we are all set. Pride comes very quick and there is always more grace and more God wants to do with us. For example, we can intensify our meetings with Jesus! St Paul and St Francis certainly intensified their meetings with Jesus. Hopefully we can do this withour ripping our clothes off like St Francis did, but we need to intensify nonetheless!!! We can help those who havent met Jesus by our daily witness and example, like so many did for St Edith Stein. Finally, we can pray for those who havent met Jesus yet, as St Monica did for her son, St Augustine, 30 of her 56 years!
There are, unfortunately, those who are lost and heading in the wrong direction. If you are one of these people, guess what? Theres good news! The good news is that by the blood of Jesus Christ, our sins can be forgiven! We have the sacrament of confession! The saints were sinners and became saints by allowing Jesus to transform their lives. Some, like St Augustine and St Paul were big sinners, but they became aware of their sins and allowed Jesus to transform their lives. That is the key! We need to be aware of our sins.
Unfortunately, so many people in the modern world are not aware of sin or choose to not recognize certain sins as such. This is what I properly call, the " Whitmans Sampler." The Whitmans Sampler is a box of chocolates in which you can pick and choose which chocolates you want. For example, there are chocolate truffles, cherry cordials, caramel cremes, etc... I can choose a caramel and push aside a cherry cordial. Personally, I hate cherry cordials, so its nice to have them labeled on the inside cover so I can pick and choose what I like. Many people approach the moral life the same way! "I dont have a problem with lying or stealing, but abortion, contraception, cloning, active homosexuality, cohabitation, etc... thats a different story." "I mean, get with it Catholic Church, its the year 2000 now! Its almost a new millenium!" This isnt what Jesus wants of us. He has given us teachings and passed them on through his Spouse the Church to make life easier! They are guides to reach the final end. They are there to help us go the right direction, toward eternal life.
Fortunately, we can get back on track when we sin. We can get back in the right direction when we are aware of our sin and seek reconciliation. However, there are still many who approach the sacrament like spiritual ping pong! Many say, "maybe it wasnt a sin, maybe it was, I dont know, maybe, well maybe not, the confessional will cave in anyway, so..." They go back and forth like ping pong balls! Should I go or not? Just go!!! Take your sin and bring it to the Cross. Let the blood of Christ wash you clean and make you pure! Just go in the confessional!!! My brothers and sisters, any sin can be forgiven! That is why, the prayer of absolution begins,"God the Father of mercies" He is not God the Father of anger, or wrath but mercy!!!. His mercy is there for any sin you commit. Any sin; abortion or the most heinous of sins. Just go and confess them!!!
The saints and magi went another way, because they met Jesus. Today, you will have that same opportunity! Today here at this Mass, after the Creed, intercessions and offering of bread and wine, Jesus Christ will be present, body, blood, soul, and divinity! You will not only be able to meet Jesus but will be able to receive his Body and Blood. This Jubilee Year is a year to start anew and get back on track. A year to make sure we are heading in the right direction and going the right way home.
This Jubilee Year, may we all meet the Lord Jesus with pure hearts , the one WAY home to the Father, who died for all of us so that we may have life, eternal life!
Rev. Mr. John A. Sistare
St Pius X- Epiphany
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