(Matthew 10:26-28 NAB) “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”
There are things about myself that I try to keep hidden, but my efforts are futile against those who know me all too well. We all have our weaknesses or ingrained prejudices that we are not very proud of. What is most astonishing is how we think we can somehow hide our weaknesses or prejudices from our heavenly Father.
Instead of hiding our sinfulness, God wishes for us to bring it out of the darkness, and into his merciful light. Why? Because, when we expose what looms large and menacing in the dark to the light of Gods wisdom and understanding, we penetrate the lie with God's truth, and that which was once so large and menacing a hurdle to overcome, becomes small and insignificant, and we triumph.
This truth applies to every thought, action, or idea that we may be faced with along life’s journey.
Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes our greatest defense against the forces of evil in our world today, that subsists within the Holy Catholic Church. So many have left the shelter of her protection for a variety of reasons, but many, I fear, have left for lack of understanding rightly what she teaches, and this is a travesty.
Jesus spoke of his yoke being easy, and his burden light (see Matthew 11:30 NAB). It is when we refuse to yield to the teachings of the Church, that Jesus himself founded, that we find ourselves heavy laden and burdened beyond what we can manage. Our stubbornness to this fact can be seen most prominently in our culture today. We live in a culture that no longer values hard work, or accepting responsibility for our actions. We celebrate and encourage promiscuity in what we watch on our TV’s, and what we allow into our homes by way of social media. We no longer recognize boundaries in our behavior towards others. Our lack of respect for the elderly and least among us is appalling, and our understanding of to love and serve is primarily focused on self, and yet we fail to make the connection to our blatant disobedience to our faith. We are confused as to what is morally right, and what is morally wrong, because we have relied upon our own understanding; our OWN feeling as to what WE feel is morally right or what is morally wrong, or we just wish to leave morals out of the equation all together, but that is not what Christians are permitted to do. Thankfully, our God is not a God of confusion, but a God of simplicity and truth. God, knowing our weakness, and understanding the many moral dilemmas his children would be faced with during our time on earth, has given us the Church to lead and guide us along our journey (See Matthew 16:16-19 NAB).
Yes, Holy Mother Church has endured much scandal over the past 2,000 years, but it is important to remember that this Church is built upon the backs of saints and sinners, the broken and the lost, and it is the sinners, not the sinless that Christ has come to save, and he gave us this Church, through which, we might find the help we need to patiently endure.
The Reformation, in short, was an attempt to correct the many abuses that were happening within the Church at that time, but that does not negate Christ’s word that his Church would prevail. To claim that the Catholic Church had fallen into apostasy, and is no longer the true Church, is to claim that Jesus lied.
Unfortunately, this claim is why we now have over 39,000 different denominations, which makes it impossible to even calculate the number of different interpretations of Holy Scripture. This splintering effect continues today with denominations desperately seeking to get back to the basics of ancient Christianity. There is only one ancient Christian Church claiming Jesus Christ himself as her founder. This same Church, the Catholic Church has clearly prevailed despite the many attacks against her, and continues to prevail today, in a culture that positively hates her (see 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:18 NAB).
Jesus assured us that his Church would always have the answer, and she does. For every moral dilemma facing the world today, the Holy Catholic Church has an answer. How can this be? It is because Jesus also promised that, in addition to his Church prevailing, the Holy Spirit would lead them into ALL truth, and he himself would be with them until the end of the age (see John 14:26; John 16:12-13; Matthew 28:19-20 NAB).
After Jesus ascended into heaven, he kept his promise in sending the advocate. The Holy Spirit descended upon these once fearful men, and transformed them into the Saints we know them to be today, whom we celebrate in our most beautiful liturgy!
Churches were founded, and the communities of believers grew. Deacons and Bishops were appointed, and the laying on of hands commenced, and new leaders of this infant Church were appointed to carry on what the first Apostles had taught (see Acts of the Apostles NAB).
Eventually some of these men wrote down everything that had happened, and everything that they had been told, and this is what we refer to today as our New Testament.
This is historical evidence that our Bible, is in fact, a Catholic book. The Canon of Scripture, as we know it, was decided upon by Catholic Bishops, in Catholic councils, by guidance of the Holy Spirit, promised to them by Christ. It only makes sense then, that if we accept the authority of the Catholic Church on what books are truly inspired, that we ought to also accept the authority of the Catholic Church in interpreting that same book, as well as the teachings of the Church concerning faith and morals.
There is so much depth and beauty in Catholicism that in one’s own lifetime, one cannot even begin to scratch the surface of her magnificence. This is precisely why it is so easy for one to believe that she is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church that Christ himself established over two thousand years ago. God is being itself. Our finite minds can never fully understand everything there is to know about God. We will need eternity for God to fully reveal himself to us. It only makes sense that his Church, the very bride of Christ, should herself be just as much of a mystery. She is a mystery, that in this life, begs to be unwrapped, pondered, and meditated upon, so that in eternity we may continue to explore and experience the breadth, length, height, and depth of God’s love for us, that we may know the love of Christ, that surpasses ALL knowledge, and finally at last, be filled with all the fullness of God (See Ephesians 3:18-19 NAB)!