We must remain in the Church—Always.
Gospel Reflection for Tuesday January 3rd, 2023
Friends, today we find ourselves again at the banks of the Jordan River, listening to the prophetic witness of John the Baptist. It is on these very banks where we listen to John testifying on behalf of our Lord Jesus:
“but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."
What does being baptized by the Holy Spirit mean? The prophetic literature in the Old Testament speaks about the baptizing of the Holy Spirit, or rather a pouring out of the spirit. Our first parents, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, “were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice.” This grace of original holiness was “to share in … divine life.”
The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, provides us by God’s grace the opportunity to restore ourselves to share in the divine life, so long as we cooperate with this grace bestowed to us.
The first reading from the First Letter of St. John reveals what the divine life looks like for those who assent to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.
Remember that in His sermon on the mount, our Lord commanded us, “48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How can this possible? It must be possible because once we are baptized, we become part of His body, “and in him there is no sin,” and “no one who remains in him sins.”
But our baptism is one part of it.
Friends, if we desire to share in the divine life, then we must do so by the means that our Lord Jesus provided us with the Church, namely the sacraments and the economy of sacramental salvation.
We must remain in the Church—always. We must be in communion with our Holy Father, Pope Francis. We must partake in the liturgical life of the Church. And we must go to confession and eat of His body to be fortified by His grace so that we can be saved from our sins.
This is our faith. Believe it. Remain in it.
 Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2000), 95.
 English Standard Version Catholic Edition (n.p.: Augustine Institute, 2019), Mt 5:48.
From St. Augustine, a rather long quote, please forgive me. Points of emphasis bracketed ***like so***.
"Let us love our Lord God, let us love His Church: Him as a Father, Her as a Mother: Him as a Lord, Her as His Handmaid, as we are ourselves the Handmaid’s sons. But this marriage is held together by a bond of great love: no man offends the one, and wins favour of the other. Let no man say, I go indeed to the idols, I consult possessed ones and fortune-tellers: yet I abandon not God’s Church; I am a Catholic. While you hold to your Mother, you have offended your Father. Another says, Far be it from me; I consult no sorcerer, I seek out no possessed one, I never ask advice by sacrilegious divination, I go not to worship idols, I bow not before stones; though I am in the party of Donatus. ***What does it profit you not to have offended your Father, if he avenges your offended Mother?*** What does it serve you, if you acknowledge the Lord, honour God, preach His name, acknowledge His Son, confess that He sits by His right hand; while you blaspheme His Church? Does not the analogy of human marriages convince you? Suppose you have some patron, whom you court every day, whose threshold you wear with your visits, whom you daily not only salute, but even worship, to whom you pay the most loyal courtesy; ***if you utter one calumny against his wife, could you re-enter his house?*** Hold then, most beloved, hold all with one mind to God the Father, and the Church our Mother. Celebrate with temperance the birthdays of the Saints, that we may imitate those who have gone before us, and that they who pray for you may rejoice over you; that the blessing of the Lord may abide on you for evermore. Amen and Amen."
I was Not speaking, from the beginning, about dogmatic and doctrinal statements. I believe my words were to the effect that we do not have to adhere to every word or action from a pope. I think I said to every word from his mouth or something similar, meaning homilies, reflections, press questions, comments on global warming, his comments against on bringing down Roe vs Wade and other moral issues etc. However, I stand by my comment that we can disagree with these. And I was only asking for clarification, as many Catholics and definitely non-Catholics think that every time he speaks we must blindly believe and obey. They think that if a pope says the sky is green and the grass is blue, Catholics must believe it. Francis has often said things that actually contradict past popes, the Magisterium and the Bible which truthfully has shocked me!!!!