Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 24, 2023
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Seeking our Lady's intercession. Let us pray.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.
Good morning, brothers, and sisters.
Usually on this fourth Sunday, this last Sunday of Advent, because Christmas is rapidly approaching, especially this year. It's just a few hours away. You know, we preach about, you know, this advent preparation, that the preparation has worked. We're about there and all that kind of decent and appropriate messaging at this time of year. But out of, I think, more necessity. I have to change the topic of the homily today, because of all of the fear and hoopla and controversy surrounding the Holy Father's new encyclical, Fiducia Supplicans comes. We had all been following any of the supposed news or media on this topic. A lot of people have been worried and up in arms. You've even heard bishops and priests talk out against it and all of these things. And I'm here to tell you there is nothing wrong with the document. It's completely and totally orthodox. And I have been doing what it says for years. More often than not, whenever you watch the news or you know, somebody who's proposing to offer the news officially or unofficially, especially on church matters, one, you can almost never trust the title of the article or the title of the YouTube or the title of the podcast to You always have to be skeptical whenever you listen to them comment on something that the Pope has said or done or written. There is nothing wrong with this document. It is completely orthodox. All you have to do is read it. Now, Monsignor Winslow, our judicial vicar, wrote a great article for our Catholic News Herald. You can get it online as well. It's just called Fiduciary Supplications. What is all the chatter about? And he gives a very short and clear explanation, quoting the document itself about its fundamental teachings. And this is what the document says. It says that there are two different types of blessings that the church can give, one type of blessing, the sacramental. The other type of blessing is pastoral. Sacramental blessings can only be given to those things that are either intrinsically good or, you know, natural and therefore can be blessed and made even better. For example, you bring a rosary to me, you know, basically it's some string, maybe some metal and some beads of different, you know, plastic or wood or something. And you ask me to bless it. Now it's just made of normal natural materials. There's nothing intrinsically holy or virtuous about it, but humans have created this to be a tool to help them pray the rosary, since it's a tool for that purpose and the rosary is a good thing, I can give it a sacramental blessing now. It's not a sacrament. It's a sacramental meaning. It's an extension of the blessings of the sacraments. So sacramental blessings do include sacraments, for example, marriage is a sacramental blessing, right? When a man and a woman come to the church seeking God's blessing on their marriage, they get married in the church right? They receive the sacramental blessing when a blessed rosary to sacramental blessing, where the blessing candles or bells or salt or water, sacramental blessings, because those things are either made by God or they're naturally ordered towards holy things, pastoral blessings are far more liberal by nature. They don't follow the same type of strict regulation. What that means is if somebody comes up to me, regardless of their state of sin or not, whether they are perfectly following Christ or not, even if they're not even Catholic and they ask for a blessing, I can give them a blessing because it's pastoral. It's an act of love. This is someone who is searching for God, who is asking for grace and intercession. How many times did Jesus Christ himself reach out to those that are morally far from him? Right. He was accused during his day, rightly so, of eating with tax collectors and prostitutes. These are people who are clearly not following God's law and covenant, and yet Jesus associated with them out of pastoral love. Why? To condone their sin? No, to call them to repentance. This is all the Holy Father is talking about when he says it's okay to bless homosexual couples because he makes a clear distinction. You can't bring them into the church and bless their rings and wear vestments when you bless them Of course you can't do that. That's sacramental. That's wrong. That's forbidden. It's always been forbidden. But if they come to me and they're struggling, trying to grow in their relationship with Christ, maybe striving to be more chaste and to follow the gospel, and they ask me for a blessing. And it's a private little moment, maybe in the sacristy or in public. as if it's some type of ritual, you know, asking God's blessing on their sinful relationship. I can bless them. I always have. It's just an act of charity. Are they perfectly conformed to Christ? No, you're not. I mean, do you really want me to bless you? Only when you're perfectly conformed to Christ because that means at the end of mass, when I bless all of you, some of you, I'm not blessing. One of the things that so many in the church have constantly criticized our Holy Father about is this clearly pastoral love and zeal he has for those who are not yet following Christ faithfully and yes, he doesn't always right or speak with the clearest language. And yes, people misinterpret this all the time and use it to justify the heretical or their sinful behavior. Yes, there are bishops and priests in the world blessing homosexual marriages because of this document, but that's not what the document says. They're heretics, but heretics always use whatever they hear to justify their behavior. Whether it says that or not, don't listen to a single bishop, priest or layperson who is claiming that there's anything wrong with any of the official teachings of Pope Francis. He has never taught heresy. And you know why? Because he's the pope. He can't. It's one of the essential aspects of the church, the gift of infallibility. To help you understand this a little better,
I'm going to tell you a true story. After I receive the sacrament of confirmation as a young man in the church, St Louis and Hickory continue to offer faith formation classes, kind of continuing education classes for those of us who wanted to continue to go. And I, of course, elected, you know, I wanted to continue to go and study more. The Lord and his church and her teachings and our teacher, a good man. I still know and love him very well. He asked us one day just it was only like five or six of us. He said, what would you do if the Holy Father came out and officially declared some heretical teaching as Catholic Church teaching? What would you do? And he kind of went around the room and asked each of us our opinions and views, and I was just waiting for him to come to me. I knew exactly what I would do. He got to everybody else. He comes to me last. He says, David, David, what would you do? And I said, well, I thought a lot about this. I would probably commit every hedonistic sin and desire that my heart could come up with rob banks, rape, pillage, and murder. And then if I ever got caught and arrested, I blow my brains out. Now, that, of course, put him and the rest of our little class in shock that they were a little confused why I would go to such a wild extreme. And I said, because if infallibility isn't real, then the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ. And if the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ, then Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and of Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, then there is no God, there is no morality, there is nothing good, there is nothing evil. There's no heaven or hell. And who cares what I do? What does it matter? We're all just apes now. They were all surprised. But you must understand something about the most essential teachings of our faith. Something like infallible. If it's not real, then nothing else is real because it's an essential aspect. Even the words of the angel to the Blessed Mother in the Gospel today speak very clearly, in essence of this fact. He says that your son, who will reign right on the throne of his father, David, his kingdom will have no end. Christ Kingdom is his church. It will have no end. Every human endeavor ultimately dies and falls apart. All purely earthly governments eventually fall apart and are replaced. This always happens because of sin, because of Cupid. Since the only way Christ Church, Christ kingdom cannot fall is if Christ is maintaining it with His power and one of the ways He does that is the power of infallibility. Let me explain how this works. Infallibility doesn't make the Pope say the right thing because the Pope can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants to write whatever he wants. But when he speaks officially as the pontiff on issues of faith and morals like and in this cyclical, he cannot that's infallibility. He cannot teach anything wrong, anything that goes against the church's tradition or Christ teachings. He is unable to do. He doesn't have the freedom to do so. In essence, by becoming pope, he has surrendered part of his will. And even if he tried to do it, God can find a way around that. When you look at the history, I'm sure there have been popes that had sudden and surprising deaths, you know, massive heart attack or stroke. Why? Because they were going to publish something the next day that was wrong. He's the God of life and death. He's like, okay, it's time for you to come home. Come on, come on. You know, I got to stop this before it starts. Is Christ really the king of this church or is he not? If he is, then why are you worried? What are you afraid of? The Pope can't go against him. He cannot. It's an essential teaching of Christ. And one of those passages that so many people always misinterpret is something Jesus himself said, that the gates of hell should not prevail against you. Now, 99.9% of Christians and Catholics misinterpret this passion. They have no idea what it means because they think that means when hell attacks the church or attacks Christ or Christians, they won't prevail. Where are the gates of hell? Are they surrounding the church? If you have a fence and a gate around your house, it's around your house. The gates of hell or around hell. They're erected to keep everybody in hell in hell. What our Lord is saying that those gates can't even stand against you, meaning you'll be able to break down those gates and, in essence, steal people from damnation. I don't mean pull them out of hell. Literally, that's not possible. But those who basically at this moment, if they died, would go to hell. His church will be able to save them before death by his power, by his teachings, by her sacraments, by her love, steal them from the very clutches of Satan himself. You see, evil can have no power over the Church of Christ, Satan, and the demons they try to infiltrate, and they do on various levels. And throughout history there have been a handful of very terrible popes. Francis is a saint compared to the bad popes, a saint. Now, he may be a saint for all I know. I don't know. But compared to them, he's a saint. Now, some people will say to me, yes, but is he the real pope? Right? I mean, come on. I mean, what if he wasn't elected rightly? I mean, what if he's not the real pope? We're all set of a contest because there is no pope. The seat is empty. They'll say, Father Miller, don't you remember reading about the conclave and how that bunch of the bad liberal cardinals got together and decided to elect him because they knew he was immoral and they kind of influenced everybody else, which is against church teaching, as if for some reason, Christ couldn't have foreseen that and the Holy Spirit couldn't have worked with that. Again, it's such a lack of faith for anyone who calls themselves Catholic to think that God is so weak, the Holy Spirit so foolish that He can't use sinful men to bring about His will. And if you had any knowledge of church history, you could only go back a few more decades and remember how John Paul the second got elected. Because if you know anything at that time, we had plenty of liberal bishops and cardinals and the reason they all voted for him when his name came up is because they thought he was liberal, too. They thought Cardinal Voight was liberal. You know why? Because he's one of those liberal bishops who celebrates mass outside and goes on hikes and ski trips with the youth. He's got to be liberal. They thought he was liberal. Now, the conservative bishops knew he was conservative, and so they voted for him. And he got in. That's how the Holy Spirit works. And it wasn't different for John Paul than Francis. God doesn't make mistakes, not with his church, because without his church firmly established on Earth, there is no salvation for us or for anyone. We have to stop giving in to these sensational clickbait titles for articles or YouTube videos or whatever. You know, before the invention of the printing press, laypeople never got into media because the only media that really existed was books as the only media that existed before that. And the only books that existed were handwritten. Most people couldn't read and write, and almost all 99.99% of theological text were written by the Catholic Church, by her priests and by her bishops. That was it, because they were all trying to read and write, and they were all trade theology and philosophy. And they would write the theology books, they would write the scripture commentaries, they would write these things. There weren't a lot of them, but they would do it. And the nice thing about that is whenever there was a pope, whenever there was a bishop, a priest who wrote something that was heretical or wrong, since they always had somebody above them in the hierarchy of the church, they would just suppress it. You're not allowed to copy that. You must burn it. It's heretical, it's not true. And heresy was very difficult and getting spread throughout the church during those times. But once the printing press was invented, guess what? Common laypeople realized they could make a career of this. You know, I can. I can now write books and get them published cheaply compared to handwritten ones and possibly make a living at doing this. And ever since then and this media has developed, we have now, you know, audio and visual media and all of these things, theologians, lay theologians, lay theology or scriptural, common terrorists have been trying to make a living doing this. There is a problem because when you're trying to make a living in anything in that regard, you know, books, movies, art, whatever it is, the one thing that often gets the most attention is something that's new, something that's a little different than the same old, you know, we call it clickbait nowadays. You have to find some sensational title or angle in order to get your stuff sold. And ever since then, this happened with the printing press. More and more heresies have been spread throughout the world because it's easy to do so, and because the church doesn't have as much control over the laity who write or publish as her bishops and priests. You can't trust most of what you see, read or hear, especially if people are doing it because they need to make a living. That's one of the nice things I get paid, whether I preach the truth or not, so it doesn't hurt me. We be so careful about this. The devil is always trying to divide the church between the extremes. Of course, what we would call liberal Catholics or conservative Catholics. You can think of that in the same sense. Politically, the demons are always seeking to divide us. If you if you hear any commentary on something the pope has said or done or written, and it doesn't bring peace to your heart and you feel resistance and that kind of intrinsic division, don't ever go back to that news site again, especially if it's Catholic. Don't ever go back again because it's not truly Catholic. They're not truly Orthodox because no saint in history would ever recommend that a single Catholic ever speak bad about the Holy Father or think bad about the Holy Father. They would always tell you, just obey him. Don't worry, God will judge him. You obey him. That's what they would say.
If anybody else says you says otherwise. They are not one of Christ's sheep. They are not a member of his flock. They're wolves in sheep's clothing. That's what they are. I don't care how traditional Catholic they claim to be, because Jesus Christ is very clear on this point. My sheep know me. They hear my voice, and they follow me. If you cannot hear the voice of Christ through his minister, his shepherd, the Pope, then you are not one of his sheep. And you should worry about that. Our Lord will always, always speak to us through the Holy Father. We just have to learn to understand Him, right? To not judge him, and to try to look at the real underlying message, which for Pope Francis is caring for the most marginalized, the most sinful, the most broken. His heart goes out to them. And he wants us as a church to find every way to show them love and kindness so that we can call them to repentance. Again, if a homosexual, a couple would come to me asking for a blessing, I would say, well, when was the last time you went to confession? Have you thought about confessing and, you know, praying and trying to work on keeping this relationship chaste? Have you thought about separating one of you moving out? I talked to them about that, but I'd still give them a blessing if they ask for one. Nothing formal, of course, condoning their sinful actions. That would be inappropriate. The document says you can't do that. But to extend some hand of charity and love for them as Christ did, that's what we're all called to. But there's so much fear and insecurity in so many of your hearts. And Jesus says to you the same thing He said to his own apostles, of little faith. In the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Homily begins at 23.22