Bottom line: None of us - on our power - can keep the Commandments. Without Jesus we fall flat on our faces. We also need the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary - and the prayers of that just man - St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family.
Today's Psalm says:
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
First the Commandments are democratic. They apply to each human being: young and old, rich and poor. All of us know: You shall not lie. You shall not steal. Honor your father and your mother.
The Commandments not only apply to all, they liberate us. Remember when God placed our first parents in a beautiful garden. He forbids them one tree, but tells them they can eat the fruit of all the others. Likewise the Commandments prohibit a few things, things we all know are wrong, but they permit everything else. So much we can enjoy: healthy friendships, delicious meals, lovely walks, wonderful music, mascots. A thousand things to be grateful for and a few to avoid - things that spoil everything else. A thief, for example, can never really enjoy what his money can buy. He knows every purchase is tainted. A person who works for what he earns, however, has peace of mind.
Because they are democratic and liberating, the Commandments make possible a limited government. All of us hope the government will, by and large, leave us alone. Allow us to get on with our own lives. Well, limited government is only possible if citizens accept personal responsibility and strive to live honest lives. As Chesterton observed, "If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments" Our founders recognized this. They spoke about creating a "Republic of Virtue". Not that all citizens would become saints, but that we would recognize a higher law that comes from God. So, to sum up: The Commandments are democratic, liberating and they protect our freedom.
I now turn to a man who kept the Commandments in a remarkable way. The Bible calls him a "just man", that is, someone always ready to carry out the Lord's commands. I'm speaking about St. Joseph - husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Francis has asked us to observe 2021 as the "Year of St. Joseph". He points out, "Each of us can discover in Joseph - the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence - an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble." The Holy Father says, "our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked." He mentions some of them: "Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others."
This Wednesday we will begin a Novena to St. Joseph. You can find the prayers in the latest edition of Northwest Catholic. Just as St. Joseph protected the Holy Family, so can he protect our homes and our hearts.
As I have been mentioning, we are in a spiritual battle. Don't think that some politician is our enemy. Our enemy is Satan. That's why on these final three Sundays before Holy Week we have the Scrutinies or exorcism prayers. Our banner is the cross. Perhaps you noticed the Lenten Cross when you entered the parking lot. I wrote about it in the bulletin. Now, as I say the Scrutiny prayers over those preparing for Easter Sacraments, I ask you to place yourself under the cross - the banner of Christ.
Remember: None of us - on our power - can keep the Commandments. Without Jesus we fall flat on our faces. We also need the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary - and the prayers of that just man - St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family. Amen.
Spanish Version (Word document)
From the Archives (Third Sunday of Lent, Year B)
Year A (RCIA):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru