Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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. The Holy Father has asked all the bishops of the world to ask all the priests of their dioceses to preach about the synod that is going to start this week. Right. If you remember the title, it's called the Synod-on-Synod, which I think is a terrible title, but it is what it is, right. Starts this week, I believe it's on Tuesday. We of course, need to keep that in our prayers. But what is a Senate and ultimately what does it mean? A synod is a gathering of bishops usually called by the pope to assist him through advice and direction in his governance of the universal church. That's what a Senate is, an official synod. A gathering of bishops. So that's what's happening in Rome this week. There's this great gathering of bishops called by the Holy Father, and they're going to be discussing synods. Synod is the concept, the idea that you gather a group of people together to seek their advice and wisdom so that you can make the best decisions. Now, you know, there's been a lot of fear and in controversy, if you keep up with, you know, conservative Catholic news. Everybody's terrified of the church is going to fall apart and it's all ludicrous. You got to worry about that kind of stuff. What is a synod and why is senility important? And therefore, why is the Holy Father having the synod on this at all? You must understand something about the Church of Jesus Christ. It's not a democracy. It's a dictatorship. We call it a kingdom. Meaning there is one head who rules over all with absolute power over life and death. Now his number one emissary in the world is the Pope. The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church. He does not need any advice from any bishop anywhere to make his decisions. He's got all the authority resting first and foremost with him. But is that the way that Christ taught the apostles to lead? No, of course not. What did he do at the Last Supper when he ordained them? He showed them by washing their feet. If I've come among you as one who serves, you do likewise. And so even though all the authority of Christ is centered in the Holy Father, the Popes have always led by calling synods or councils. This is where they can get advice and direction from their bishops to hopefully make the best decision for the church with of course, and then through the mind of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. It's just a very humble and appropriate thing to do. I mean, can one man, the pope, know everything about the church throughout the whole world? Of course not. There’re just too many things going on. His bishops are his best advisors. But if you think about it logically, can every bishop know what's going on in all his diocese? No, of course not. Of course, he can't. He's just one bishop.
What does he have to do? He must call a synod of priests.
He gets his pastors, his priests from all over the diocese and he brings them together and he says, okay, what's going on? What do you think we need to be working on here and there? But can every priest or pastor of a parish know what's going on in all his parish? I can tell you personally he cannot. And so, what does he do? He calls a synod of his parishioners together to advise him on different areas. You can call it a parish council or a finance council or whatever you want. But ultimately, all they are synods. It's a calling together of advisers so that the King St Dorothy's and the King. I mean, Christ may be the king of kings, but Bishop Dugas is the king of Charlotte. Pope Francis the King of the world. Christ the King of heaven and earth. Does a king need adviser? If he's a smart king. He would recognize that. But does he need advisers to make decisions for the kingdom? No, he doesn't, because the authority in power rests with him. You see, the pope doesn't have to listen to any of the bishops. There have been heresies in the church that were so prevalent that when the bishop called a synod, most of the bishops were heretics. Study your church history. But in all this instances, was the church led astray? No. The Holy Father called them all back to repentance. You don't have to worry about any negative influence on the Holy Father.
You must understand this as Pope. He doesn't have the power to go against God. He doesn't. He can't. He cannot. When he took upon himself, when he I should say, when he accepted the role of the papacy after he was elected, he could have refused it after he accepted it. He basically divested himself of some of his own free will. You don't realize this about authority. The greater the authority an individual has, the less free will they have, at least on a certain level. The Bible is clear on this. It says that God directs the hearts of the powerful and he leads them wherever he wants them to go. God does this. When you think of the heart of a person, you think of their desires, those inner movements, the things that they want, and on some level, their intentions.
How many times throughout the Old Testament when God was going to punish his people for their sin, did he inspire a foreign king to say, oh, look, Israel, they've got a lot of wealth and gold and we could make a lot of good slaves, Let's go fight them. Do you think that foreign King knew that the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to do that? No. He thought it was a good idea. Or maybe some of his counselors recommended it. But in the end, when they went and enslaved the people of Israel, that was God's will. All they did was accomplish what God had inspired their leaders to do. And this is a concept that, especially in this first world country, we don't understand.
We think because of this perverted philosophy that we have in this country, that authority is given from below. Meaning I decide who's my president, my senator, my congressman, or we decide, at least as a group, we elect, and we empower. No, that is according to Catholic tradition and teaching heresy. It's just heresy. It's outright heresy. Why? Because the Bible is clear. All authority comes from God above. No authority comes from below. That's like giving your children a vote. And what mom and dad decide to do on behalf of them. Is that really a smart idea? I mean, is that what you want, parents? Because if that's the philosophy of our governing, of our government in this country and we're trying to spread that philosophy to the rest of the world, why do you think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, as we like to say?
Yeah. Give children a vote and see how things go in your family. What is the point of solidarity if those in power, in authority don't need the advice and direction? Again, there are two things. Either a wise or holy leader would know they can't know everything. And so, he seeks advice and direction and counsel from everybody and then makes his decision. That's the first. And the second is this. And this may be more important than many of you realize. People need to be heard. I very recently heard a quote from Martin Luther King, and he said that is it Martin Luther King Jr Junior. Yeah, I know. Was missing something. So, Martin Luther King Jr. and he said that rebellion or revolution is the reaction to a people who are not listened to. Now, why does that happen? I want you to think of it in regard to your own personal life, just you individually. Saint Paul talks about this struggle that we have within each of us. He calls it the flesh warring against the spirit. And in one place, he says, I do the things I don't want to do, and I don't do the things I want to do, like my mind, which is centered up here in my brain, which is on the top of my body called my head is supposed to make decisions for the rest of the body.
I'm supposed to know what is good and true and the right thing and then do it. But how often is that not the case? How often do I know what I should do? But I don't want it. And I do something different. Maybe wrong. The heart is not always in line with the head. There's not good communication.
We even talk about that psychologically. The idea that your heart and your head need to learn to communicate better. But something that you might not know about the heart is this. If the head is constantly trying to control the heart without listening to it, the heart rebels. I'll give you a simple example. I'm sure all of you, for the most part, have experienced at some point in your life during Lent, where you took on a penance that was stronger or harder than you could handle. And within a week you just completely gave up. And it doesn't have to be a penance during Lenten, it could be any task. You thought, I'm going to do this, I'm going to make myself do this, and then you just pushed yourself to do it as hard as you could, and you fell apart and completely abandoned it. That is the head trying to force the heart when the heart isn't ready.
You think that's just a sign of weakness? No, that's a state of being. It's a reality. The heart is not supposed to be forced. It's supposed to be encouraged. Yes. You must discipline it sometimes. Punish it. Yes. But ultimately, you invite, you draw out. Saint Paul says this constantly in his letters when he's writing to a specific town, he says, Look like a command to you. I could command you to obey me. I've got the authority. I'm the apostle. But I would rather encourage you and invite you. It's the same with our God. He doesn't need your opinion when he makes decisions for your life. He's God. But how often are we taught by the Saints that He wants to know what's on your mind and heart? Not because he's going to agree with you. Because it's important that you be heard. Ultimately, that's the secondary level of Senate. As you know, in the last year, year and a half, the Holy Father has asked us as parishes to have these little meetings of the minds where you get to reveal to me all the things on your mind and heart.
And then I share those things with the bishop, and the bishop shares those things with the Pope and so on. Sometimes that's all you need to do to feel better is just speak your mind, somebody to listen to you. It's not always going to solve your problems, but honestly, it usually makes you feel better, and it calms your spirit. If we're not humble enough to listen to one another, then eventually that simply leads to rebellion. I'm certain that this Synod is the will of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. You know why? Because Pope Francis decided on it. And he's the Pope. And if he decided on it, then it's the will of God for us. That means there's something in this, some lesson that the whole church needs to learn. You don't have to be afraid of the heretics. You don't have to be afraid of them. Do you really think for a moment that the Church of Jesus Christ is going to fall apart? I mean, after 2000 years, you really think it's suddenly going to happen now. Our Lord has promised us it won't happen. It can't happen until he comes again in glory. At that point, it's too late, so who cares? There's no reason to worry or be afraid. Yes, there are heretical bishops. Of course, there are. There always have been in the church. Surprise, surprise. The Holy Spirit is not going to allow Pope Francis to make any decision for the body of Christ that goes against the will of the King.
On some level, that's the power of infallibility. It prevents the Holy Father from speaking error in official capacity. And there are many of you who can say, But Father, what about that one time when Pope Francis said this? What about that one time when Pope Francis didn't do that? Was he speaking definitively on some issue of faith and morals? Was he changing church? Church teaching was giving a private opinion. I mean, you can disagree with his private opinions. That's perfectly fine. Isn't everyone entitled to their private opinions? No, I don't necessarily agree with everyone's opinions, and they can share as they want. And yes, it can have certain effects in our lives. But I don't worry about those things. I don't focus on them. They're not my concern. In fact, it's usually best if you have a weak faith in this area to stay away from that kind of news, because obviously it just disturbs your faith, causes you to have worry and anxiety. If your faith is not strong enough that Jesus Christ will not let his church go astray, you need to not watch the news, read the news. Just stay away from it. As parents, you keep your children away from certain news because you don't think they're mature enough for it. Have you ever thought that maybe you're not mature enough for certain news? But, Father Miller, I'm an adult. Yes. That's the same argument your children use. I'm not a baby, but it doesn't mean you're mature and doesn't mean you're wise. All I know is that Christ will not fail me and that his church will always be here to guide me. And all I must do is stay faithful to her by my fidelity to our Pope. That's it. I do that even if I make some mistakes along the way. God, in his mercy, will bring me back in. The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
You may watch the Mass in its entirety on our Youtube Channel. Homily begins at 18:56