The Catholic Defender: Matthew 10:14, Shake The Dust
Jesus instructed, "And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town."
Storm clouds seem to be brewing as American society continues to fragment. During the Obama Presidency, things have deteriorated to such extremes it seems there are little chances for recovery.
Are we heading to a spiritual plane much where the ancient Israelite found themselves with God? It would certainly seem so.
Amos 7:12-15 states, “Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
From this text coming from the prophet Amos, he would certainly be able to identify with some of the current problems facing America today. We are living in a time when many are wanting to silence the Church, and it seems hard to find anyone willing to take up the gauntlet and loudly proclaim God’s Word.
I know from my nearly 27 years of Military service, many changes have taken place in all branches of service taking out anything identifying a Christian culture. Fortunately, I survived my service without compromising my core values as I never caved in to accepting the Progressive takeover of the Military. Tragically, I talk with many active duty Soldiers who are not going to stay in the Army and make it a career because of their suppressed views.
About 1% of Soldiers serving in the Military reach retirement after 20 years, about 1% of those reach 26 years. Only about 4% of the American society are affiliated with the Military in one capacity or another, from being an active service member, a dependent, or retiree. That means the vast majority of the American society are not either familiar with military life, or their interests are directed elsewhere.
The Archdiocese of the Military continues to be a voice for all serving in the military standing up for the freedom and support of the faith of the majority. Like the Prophet Amos, many of our Chaplains can certainly relate. It’s a sad day when the Government is forcing it’s members to have to choose between a king or dictator, from the True King and His Church.
God is raising a standard against this return of ancient Paganism calling for a spiritual army within the Catholic Church that is being seen all across the country.
Many young men and women are answering the call to follow Christ at this very crucial hour in American history.
Father Kevin Drew of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church gave the following homily on July 12, 2015:
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
That’s the priest Amaziah in the first reading telling the prophet Amos to get out of town. Amos, who lived about 700 years before Christ, fearlessly preached against the religious abuses and immorality in Israel. He also prophesized that Israel’s King Jeroboam would be murdered and the Israelites would be sent into exile.
But the priest Amaziah didn’t want to hear it. You see, he was working for the king, and not God. Bethel was twelve miles north of Jerusalem, and like Jerusalem it had a temple. But the worship there was profaned. As Amaziah told Amos, it was the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple. Amaziah pushed God aside and propped up earthly rulers in the sanctuary.
About 2200 years after this, in 1534, an earthly ruler, by a vote of the English Parliament, was propped up as the supreme religious leader in England. That tragedy started over the sin of flouting the sacredness of marriage. The Act of Supremacy in 1534 made King Henry VIII the head of the new man-made Church of England, a country that had been Catholic for 1000 years. Now England would be forced to swear allegiance in matters of faith and morals to the king, their supreme religious leader — who ended up having two of his six wives’ heads chopped off.
The top lawyer in England at the time was Sir Thomas More. He refused to take an oath swearing that King Henry’s first marriage was invalid — because it wasn't. He also refused to take an oath swearing that Henry was the Supreme Head of the Church in England — because he wasn't. Those things were not true, even if they had become the law of the land.
In the 1967 movie, A Man For All Seasons, agents of the king press St. Thomas More to sign the oath. An exasperated Duke of Norfolk tells More: I’m no scholar, so I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not, but (darn it) Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship! More calmly responds: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?
There is another great line at More’s trial, when he notices that Richie Rich, the man who falsely accused him, is wearing a new medal of office around his neck. More asks what the chain is, but an ashamed Richie Rich looks away. The prosecutor answers More for him. He says: Sir Richard has been appointed Attorney General for Wales. Thomas More looks at the medal, then at Rich, and says: Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul to gain the whole world — but for Wales?
Saint Thomas More was beheaded on July 6, 1535, two weeks after the bishop John Fisher was beheaded.
In a land of Amaziahs, priests who went to work for the king instead of God, Saint John Fisher was the only bishop in England who did not declare that King Henry was the supreme ruler of the Church.
Henry VIII was in fact a king. But he pushed God aside. He forgot that he himself had a king. That king in today’s gospel passage sent out the twelve apostles two by two. He sent out hand-picked trainees to go on a mission. The apostles were to preach repentance; to have people turn away from sin. Most people probably didn't want to hear that — Aren't you two fishermen from Capernaum? Who are you to tell us we’re sinners? Where did you get the authority to do that? The authority came from God, who had stayed back in Capernaum.
Christ could have went on the mission with the twelve.
Christ also could have stayed on Earth after he rose from the dead. But then there would be no faith. Christ entrusted the spread of the Good News to human beings. This is the Church. Christ started a Church, a Kingdom on Earth and gave it authority. That makes it totally different than any other organization, private or public, found on earth. All those groups were started by human beings. Jesus maintains his presence through the Eucharistic offering.
Does that mean the Church is immune from corruption? Of course not. How could it be? It has human beings in it. No, it means the Church, because she is started by Christ, possesses the truth. And the truth is not up for a vote. The truth does not change with the times. The Church, one scholar wrote, is like the mailman: She delivers the Good News. She never edits it.
Now we, as human beings, are offered the gift of faith. We can accept it or reject it, because unlike the lower animals, we have free will. God allows us to make a choice. Listen to our true King, our true Supreme Ruler: You can’t serve both God and mammon. You can’t serve two masters (Mt 6:24). If you deny me, I will deny you before my Father (Mt 10:33). What profit is it for someone to gain the whole world, but lose his soul? (Mk 8:36).
So make your choice. Ask yourself: Who do I ultimately work for? Who is my supreme ruler? Who is my supreme court? The answer comes into focus when you ask yourself another question: Who ultimately saves me?
In Jesus we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions. Psalm 49 states: For no man can buy his own ransom, or pay a price to God for his life. The ransom of his soul is beyond him. He cannot buy life without end.
We need to pray to have the spiritual vision to see this. And if so, the world will tell us: Off with you visionary. Flee to the land of Judah! That’s actually our mission. We are to shake the dust from this passing away world and head to the heavenly Jerusalem. We don’t need food or a fat money belt to get there. Instead Christ supplies the provisions – his Holy Body and his Precious Blood.
This is why Jesus gave us the Holy Sacrifice of Mass. Our sanctuary is indeed a king’s sanctuary, a royal temple. But it’s not for earthly kings and rulers. They can’t save us. They can’t assuage the Father’s anger with their blood. Only Christ can do that. Only Christ can buy our ransom.
Don’t push God aside. What happens in here, how you react and conduct yourself in here, is the key to everything you do out there, in the world. So don’t profane your worship. Offer yourself along with Christ’s Precious Blood to the Father. Then listen to Christ in the silence at Mass. Listen to him ask: Will you come with me, for fellowship? Listen to him, and make your choice.”
Father Drew makes many important points here. We are truly in a battle for souls because there is a real spiritual battle, souls are at stake. We are called to lead by example and to love even our enemy. To know that God is watching us, that He has not forsaken us gives us great hope.
Psalms 39:7 states, “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in thee.”
Our faith calls for us to trust in the Lord, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.” (Proverbs 3:5)
The Act of Faith, “O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.”
Let us always place all our hope, faith, and trust in the Lord, centered on our love for God. The more we hold to the azimuth that gives us a straight line to God, the less we will be distracted by the call of the wild.
You have heard that much has been given so much is expected, we are called by God to help pick up the wounded and not leave them stranded leaving them on the bay-side. This is the challenge that we are to help those in need. Jesus said, “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)