The Transfiguration of the Lord
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 the Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of the womb. Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Good morning, brothers, and sisters.
Earlier in this week, I was reading a book entitled The Rights and the Obligations of a Pastor. It's something the church put out just to help us pastors remind be reminded of not only what we're supposed to do as pastors, but even our rights as pastors, things that we can expect for ourselves and our ministry.
And one of the things that really stood out to me and during the rest of the week, the Holy Spirit continued to emphasize, was the importance of a pastor to educate his people on proper use of the media. I think it's a topic I probably don't preach on enough, but it's something most everybody struggles with to a certain extent in this day and age. And I had forgotten that this Sunday was the Transfiguration. So, I was kind of preparing this homily in my mind. And when I realized it was the transfiguration, I realized it was going to work quite perfectly. And let me explain why. So, the media has this unique ability and whatever form you use it, whether you're watching movies, television, listening to the radio, Facebook, Twitter, what's the short video on Instagram? TickTok, tick tock. Right. Whatever you're doing, it engages you so powerfully. It's so many of your senses all at once. But that's exactly what happened at the Transfiguration like these apostles have. There was no Twitter back then. No, no cell phones, nothing. They have no idea of digital media and what it can do for you. It on radio is nothing like that.
And our Lord takes Peter, James and John up this high mountain and completely wows them. Right. He's lifted from the earth. So, he's. They're levitating. His face is transformed. He begins to radiate like the sun, and his clothes even become light as light. And, you know, then, miraculously, two dead people appear beside him in glory. Start conversing with him. This technology that we have has a similar ability. Obviously, it's nothing compared to the spiritual reality. We're thinking about today. But in a sense, that's exactly what's happening. When you can just turn on your phone and spend hours going through TikTok videos. I mean, you could spend the rest of your life just reviewing TikTok videos. I mean, there's a lot of videos out there and people are making more every day. And why is it so tempting? Why is it so easy for us to fall back on media, especially in movies, TV, radio, the Internet, Google, YouTube, all that stuff? Why is it so easy for us to fall back on that? It's because it's incredibly engaging to all our senses and faculties, so much so that we literally need to put no effort into it. It takes less brain cells to watch a video than to do almost anything else because it's an entirely passive act. The video is doing all the work for you. You don't even have to use your imagination. It's giving you the images. So, we often use this to relax. We don't have to do anything. Again, like I said, it's a very passive act and it's very engaging. It stimulates our senses, and it can give up, you know, a type of euphoria, type of high. Now, this is not sinful in and of itself, right? Take, for example, alcohol. The Bible is very clear on alcohol. If you're sick, have a little wine for your stomach. If you're depressed, have a little wine, it'll pick up your spirits a little. You know, it's not saying go get drunk. But, you know, these things are meant to lift us up when we're down, when we're struggling. So, it's okay that we use the media to a certain extent for this reason. You know, you know how if you watch a happy movie, you feel happy at the end? Well, if you're sad, that's a great opportunity to watch a happy movie. It'll pick you up, you know, don't watch Old Yeller if you can remember that one, you know, cried every time at the end. That's not a happy movie. So beautiful movies, just not a happy movie. So, but it's not a bad thing that we have this beautiful technology and invention and art in a certain sense. Music, movies, videos that can pick up our spirits when we're down. But if it becomes a crock, a crutch, if it becomes a crutch for us, that we can't get through difficult times without it, that we can't handle the everyday problems of life without it, that is just unhealthy. That's just unhealthy. But it's not surprising we prefer it. Think about what Peter said on the mountain today, right? He's experiencing this with James and John, this amazing glory, and he says what all of us are thinking, Lord, it is good that we are here. Yes, this is good. And then he says, Can I make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah? Why? Because he doesn't want to ever come down from the mountain. If he can convince Jesus and Moses and Elijah to stay up there, then they can stay in this beatific vision and this glory forever. That's what he wants. He wants this taste of heaven forever. Well, that's the same temptation we have with this media. It's so easy to ingest and it oftentimes can make us feel good. So, we just fall back on it and it becomes a crutch for us. And then we never grow in the ability to handle the real problems of life. You know, like I said, it's one thing to watch a happy movie because you're in a bad place and that can help. It's another thing where you never deal with your problems. You just watch movies or listen to music or watch Tik Tok, whatever it is. If that's your go to for helping you resolve the emotional and mental problems of your life, you're in great danger because it weakens you. Peter, James and John would have all been happy to stay on this mountaintop, but our Lord takes them back down into the valley of life. He says, Nope, we're not going to stay up here. This is a taste of heaven. This is what you'll get in heaven. But life is hard. Life is difficulty, you know, and you have to learn to deal with the problems of life. It's believed that our Lord gave them this vision of His glory to prepare them for his suffering. They already believed him to be the Son of God, but to actually see that glory revealed in Him strengthened their faith so that when they were there at his suffering and death, it would help them maintain faith and get through this dark night, this rough time in their life. Ideally, it's Christ in our faith in him that's supposed to get us through the challenges of life. But if I'm using all of these tools, this technology to be my support, then I'm not leaning on Christ. Then I'm never going to grow in strength. All it's going to do is continue to weaken me and make me ultimately dependent upon it, somewhat enslaved to it. How often do you experience the fact that you're like, you can't go a day without checking your Facebook or watching YouTube or listening to music, whatever it may be? Again, these things are not necessarily they're not evil in and of themselves. Human invention, naturally. They're just kind of neutral. You don't need them in life, but they do make life a lot easier and to a certain extent, a lot better. I mean, you can have like thousands of songs, you know, right there at the tip of your fingers.
Now, obviously, I do have to speak for a few minutes at least about the fact that there are many things in this technology and in the media that are just intrinsically evil, right, that we have nothing to do with. We need to always repent of and avoid at all costs. You know, the big one is pornography of any form, right? Whether it's visual, whether it's audio, just music, and it's the words in the lyrics, you know, those kinds of things are just very clearly intrinsically evil. But I would say there's an even more dangerous intrinsic evil in any of this social media because it's more subtle. I mean, the big obvious stuff, I mean, pretty much everybody admits unless there's something really, really, wrong with you, but it's the more subtle evil. And it makes me think of something that the Blessed Mother said to the children of Fadiman 1917. So, 1917. This is what Mary said. In the future, Satan will put a black box in everyone's home through which he will speak to them a black box. So, nobody knew in 1917 what that could mean. And not too long after that, the television was invented and from the television it just got shrunk down smaller and smaller. So, a phone, a cell phone is pretty much just a tiny TV with absolute access to all the information. We have still the same thing Now. Prophecy given by our lady wasn't because it's just going to be used for really obvious stuff. Satan is far more intelligent than you and I on a natural level, and subtle evil is far more dangerous than the obvious kind. And so, it's just the small falsehoods and heresies, the tiny imperfections in stories and songs and ideas and movies that ultimately begin to influence us. Little by little. This is even more dangerous when you allow your children access to these things without parental control or oversight. Obviously, one of the basic things we need to do with our children is not give them a cell phone necessarily. You know, again, as long as it's guarded every now and then, you can do that, not turn on a movie or the TV. That shouldn't be the normal thing that we do, exceptions to the rule. That's fine. I mean, honestly, as a child, I somewhat resented my parents growing up because they wouldn't let us do all that kind of stuff. You know, most of the time we could only watch television on Sundays as a family, usually an hour or two of Disney. When Disney was still family. Yeah, so whole another homily, the occasional movie now and then that we would rent that they were very careful, uh, you know, about the rating and make sure they already knew what was in the movie. We weren't allowed to have video games at home. I was so envious of my friends. Justin, I know, but I was very envious. And the normal thing mom and Dad would say is, go outside. It's nice, stay in play or go read a book. I don't want to read a book. I don't want to go outside. Right. Why? Because multimedia is easy. It's so easy to relax, too, and to find enjoyment. And it takes no work on our part. But that's the danger in it. It's too easy to use regularly. It can't be our go to for relaxation because then it becomes a crutch, and we are never able to grow. When we look at the number one problem of our culture and all, first world cultures, right now in the world, predominantly it's this incredible access to the media.
24/7 and we wonder why the younger generations are growing up to have so many problems with self-discipline and self-control and conviction, how they want everything handed to them, because that's what the media does. It hands you everything you want. Your senses don't have to work at all. They just absorb. It becomes a philosophy that begins to govern the minds of these young people. Why do you think socialism and communism is on the rise again? It's not a surprise. Makes perfect sense. It all ties back to the easy access from an early age. Parents, we have a serious responsibility with our children. I forgot to preach on this last night, but there weren't as many young parents. They were mostly grandparents last night, so it's not as big a deal. But as a rule, parents, this is what I'm telling you. If if you give your children a cell phone, that's a big if. I'm not recommending it. I'm just saying if you do, let's just say at 5:00 every evening, you take it away and lock it away in a drawer somewhere. That's it. They don't need it for the rest of the night. Usually bad things happen when the sun goes down. And if you don't have very careful controls, that child should never have it. And I don't care whether you trust your child or not. You know why? Because you shouldn't trust them. They're children. You say, Well, I'm a teenager, I'm a little older father. You should be trusted even less. Think about all the trouble you get into. I trust your five-year-old sibling better than I trust you. Not because I don't want to trust you. I wouldn't trust myself at that age. I don't even trust myself. Now, why should I trust any of you? I trust the Lord. That's about it. It's about as far as it goes. Most of us don't have the capacity to parent ourselves. That's why we need parents. But what happens when I'm grown up and I have my own house? Who's going to parent me? Well, that's the challenge when you don't have a parent to restrict your access to these things and to force you to make better choices, and when you do just out of weakness and habit, fall back into these bad habits, well, that's where you do need help. You can't do it on your own. So, God willing, you can get some help from your spouse, from a sibling, a friend. You know, let's create a support group. One of you can invent in a media anonymous, you know, you know, you're just addicts, and you can't control it. And you meet together in groups and help each other. Help support each other. Hey, it's not a bad idea. Maybe there's something already out there. Ultimately, we're not meant to do these things alone. Anyway, Life is hard enough. We're supposed to support one another in these things, but no child should ever be given free access to the Internet, ever. And if they're ever on a computer that has the Internet, the parents should be sitting there watching the computer with them at every moment. It's as simple as that. There's too much danger out there. And so, I think, in my opinion, two of the greatest inventions of the last hundred years is the splitting of the atom and technology. And do you know which one I think is more dangerous? It's not the atom. Technology is far more insidious, and its use is far more subtle and damaging. If kept unchecked. It's not bad in and of itself. Just like nuclear energy, it's how you use it that matters. So, we need to be very careful in our own lives with our own children. Obviously, we need to avoid the this clearly evil content, but we have to be even more aware of the subtle lies and deceptions that begin to creep into our mind because of the movies we watch or the music we listen to. Don't underestimate its power. And I'll remind you of something in the early church. I think if I'm correct in this, I mean, even in the Old Testament, it was believed that Lucifer, Satan, the enemy, one of his gifts from God when he was still an angel, one of his responsibilities as the Seraphim was to direct music. And oftentimes he would be pictured with wings made of pipe organ pipes. So, when he flew through the air, the air would pass through the pipes, and it would make sound. Now God gave him this power so that singing could be used to glorify God. But when he turned from God, he now uses this power of music to not praise God, of course, but to turn others from God and mind and heart. So, it's not surprising that music has regularly been a tool used to draw people away from the truth. And the reason it is whether it's in a movie, a video or just a song itself, you're listening to. I mean, think about it. When was the last time you watched a video that didn't have some soundtrack in the background? Do you know why they do that? Because it works. Music has an ability to weave through all your intellectual defenses and penetrate more deeply into your mind and heart. That's why we love it so much. It moves us. And when you add a message, even a subtle one, along with the music, the message is basically implanted in you. And if you're not paying close attention to the words, then even though you say, oh, Father, it doesn't really affect me, right? I mean, I just listen to it because it’s good music is good tempo and beat. It makes me feel good. If you honestly believe that you are ignorant, you know nothing about human psychology and it's okay to be ignorant, but it's not okay to stay ignorant. Don't underestimate the power of music in any form. We have to be very careful with all of these things. Otherwise, without realizing that the devil may be planting subtle seeds within us. His seeds, not those of the Lord. And whenever the Lord speaks of seeds, He's speaking of truth. Well, the devil doesn't plant truth. He plants lies. There was a philosopher. I can't remember his name, but he wrote over a hundred years ago. But he said, if you can give me all of the control of the music in a culture, I can completely form the next generation. This is all I have to do is have complete control over what music they listen to. And then I can make of them almost whatever I want. That's the power of music. So, in all of these ways, we need to learn far more discipline. We need to restrict our own use of these tools, and that's what they are tools. We shouldn't necessarily remove them completely from our lives because it's a part of life right now. But we need to be far more prudent, far more careful, and not allow them, even in subtle ways, to draw us away from the law.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy .
You may watch the Mass in its entirety on our Youtube Channel Homily begins at 20:05