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WOF Radio > Sermons > Sermon Archive for 2010 > Sermon 516 : God's Holy Mountain : First Sunday of Advent
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    Sermon 516 : God's Holy Mountain : First Sunday of Advent

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    Thomas Merton once wrote, "Man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself. And he is not at peace with himself because he is not at peace with God." Only when we are in communion with God will we be in communion with ourselves and our fellowman. This simple formula summarizes Israel's mission of gathering all peoples in right praise to God on Mt. Zion. Although the world is divided in countless ways, Israel's gathering mission is realistic because Christ, the Messiah, is Lord, and all things will be gathered in himself. For this we wait in joyful hope.
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Robert Westenberhger
I love your sermons Fr. Baron but have to disagree with your statement "New Age gurus have a place"...what place is that? Hell? How many souls have they deceived and led away from our Lord?
11/24/2010 2:54:30 AM
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Brian Cook
New Age gurus are not diabolical deceivers. They are not God-hating villains. They are human beings seeking truth and goodness and doing what they think is true and good. Let's respect real human sentiments and then point people towards Christ, shall we?
11/26/2010 10:38:56 AM
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Robert Westenberger
Doing "what they think is true and good" isnt good enough. Abortionists do what they think is good and true.Terrorists do what they think is good and true.That arguement doesnt hold water. The New age gurus intention doesnt remove their responsibility of leading others into error. I stand by my statement. Jesus constantly reminds us to beware of false prophets. Are you saying the Lord isnt being charitable?
11/26/2010 6:02:00 PM
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@Robert: The presumption of some Catholics to decide who should go to hell and who shouldn't, is one of the things that drove me away from the Catholic Church. I much prefer Brian's method of New Evangelization.
11/28/2010 7:51:12 AM
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Jim Manning
Dear Mr. Westenberger:

You left out the word "perhaps" and the grouping of the secular categories that included politicians, pop stars, et al. And, what does "their place" mean? You have unspoken assumptions that you should examine tonight during your Examen Prayer. Pray for the grace to be a better listener who doesn't ignore context and misquote the speaker, as Barbara Boxer does. Good luck.
11/28/2010 1:19:49 PM
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Dawn Elizabeth Slike
It is right and righteous to respect the rights of others to share opinions, and yet it is equally right and righteous to disrespect erroneous opinions presented as teachings. New Age gurus may say warm fuzzy and ambiguous things about getting along with everybody but there are times, according to Jesus Christ himself, when confrontation is necessary and expected of us. We don't remain silent when error is presented as truth. We imperil our own souls when we do. The trick is challenging untruth(s) in a way which keeps the offender engaged, in other words speaking the truth in love, challenging untruths in love.
11/28/2010 10:08:48 PM
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Robert Westenberger
Wow, where do I start? Debra- The condition of the Catholic church is because of the watered down worldly views that some have preached in the church. If new evangelization is whatever makes you happy,count me out. Jesus wasnt a happy go lucky hippy. He spoke truth, he didnt tread lightly. I dont say who goes to hell but scripture is clear for those who dont look through rose colored glasses."Woe to the one that causes others to sin(new age gurus?), it would be better for them to have a mill stone tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea." That might be too black and white for you. Do you read scripture? If you were driven from the Catholic church because someone said a person should go to hell, you obviously dont take your faith seriously.
11/28/2010 10:46:14 PM
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Robert Westenberger
Jim- Politicians and pop stars are in a completely different category than someone who preaches a FALSE doctrine.How do you know what my "unspoken assumptions are", has a "new age guru" shown you how to read minds? I see you compared me to Barbara Boxer. Can you or Debra tell me why 54% of Catholics voted for Obama? Maybe because hell,gay marriage, contraception,"new age gurus" etc..was largely ignored from the pulpit. I love Fr. Barrons work,and hes a big boy. Im sure he appreciates being challenged as well as challenging the flock. To all you comfortable catholics...its going to get uncomfortable soon...the days of fence riding are over. God bless.
11/28/2010 10:58:18 PM
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I think Robert, that you are getting hit rather heavily by our fellow posters for speaking in a St. Jerome-like manner. I've read he could be quite irascible when defending certain truths regarding Church teaching, i.e. Our Lady's perpetual virginity.

It does seem that we are not too eager to acknowledge the reality of hell and the equally uncomfortable reality that some of us may end up there. A local priest during one homily kindly informed us that pretty much everyone there that day was probably going to heaven. No complaints there. And I don't know how many funeral masses I've attended where the deceased is pretty much canonized right on the spot with no help needed or asked for in the way of our prayers for purification in purgatory.

But let some other priest, perhaps not so enamored with our focus on self satisfaction as we, suggest the possibility that hell might await many of us if we continue to choose love of self over love of God and, oh my, what a ruckus! ;*)

In any case, as Father Corapi teaches, if we don't get to know who the enemy is and how he operates in his war on souls, basically we're sitting ducks. An unprepared soldier is an unwise soldier.

I guess Our Lord's teaching that we must be cunning as serpents yet innocent as doves has long been a kind of very challenging tight rope for all of us who desire to follow Him. Those of us who lean toward the "innocent" manner find fault with those of us who may be more prone to be "cunning", and vice versa.

One quote that I think is attributed to St. Athanasius, one of the great defenders and a Doctor of the Church, states that "the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops."

I don't think Athanasius' statement means to say that he thought he should decide who is and who isn't going to heaven or hell, but rather only that if we are too calm and accepting about false teachings some nasty things can come from that in the end.

I think perhaps this is what Robert is getting at, and I doubt if he would want to set himself up as the final judge for souls. The presumption of some Catholics that feisty speech made against false teaching may drive some away from the Catholic Church is perhaps based on these different personality types varying from more or less innocent to more or less cunning.

Personally, I think the Church of the Western world (generally speaking here and not to be misconstrued as an all or nothing type opinion) tends toward the false security of our comfortable worldly lives and I often enough wonder how many of us would have the fortitude and final perseverance to be true to the Church, in the way so many of the martyrs have chosen that truth over a nice-looking, promising compromise, which on the surface may seem harmless enough. Well, I guess from my perspective and in my opinion, we seem to be slipping more and more toward ways to make things easy and comfortable for ourselves and less and less interested in being a little bit insistent and vocal about the hard truths of certain issues. And it does appear that we are losing ground on many fronts. Cunning and innocent. Both are needed, according to the Master. I guess, in other words, complete surrender to His will and to His Real Presence. He said some hard things, but maintained that innocence. Impossible for fallen mankind, yet all things are possible with God. Have mercy on me, a sinner.
11/29/2010 12:52:59 AM
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Robert Westenberger
I do believe if our Lord was walking the earth now he would be considered a trouble maker. Maybe even arrested for hate speech. At least sent to sensetivity training. Say your Rosary and stay close to our lady and have no fear. Like Padre Pio says...pray,hope and dont worry. Lord give us more priests like Fr. Barron,Fr. Corapi and nuns like Mother Angelica!
11/29/2010 1:49:59 AM
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Yes, I think He would be thought of that way, too, Robert, by the secular-humanists, etc. As well as by very many of us who profess to follow Him.

I also believe that the poem Bishop Sheen used to recite sums up, quite painfully, how many of we who profess to love Him today would react and in so many ways, do react :


When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.
They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do, '
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

G. A. Studdert-Kennedy

Some have renamed this poem "Indifference". As long as we've got our comfortable, sugar-coated Jesus and our comfortable, Christian lifestyles, then the deeper suffering of others is merely their own personal problem and failure to live in the sweetness of Christ's candy!

After all, Jesus wants us all to be happy here on earth and have every temporal comfort we can possibly attain. Who needs Heaven? Other than as another sweet idea to add to our sugar-coated faith. People who suffer in the rain are obviously only doing so because they haven't yet fully understood our prosperity gospel!

Just today I notice our new prayer for religious vocations pasted into the missals in every pew. I haven't got it here at home, but it used to be a prayer for the Holy Spirit to draw young people to the religious life.

Same prayer there now, in the new missals, with the added first line about how Jesus came so that we could be happy in this life.

I had to wonder why Our Lady told St. Bernadette she couldn't promise her happiness in this world, but great joy with Jesus and Mary in the next! Obviously, Our Lady doesn't know Jesus as well as the person who added the first line to the prayer for vocations in our new missals.

It can indeed be a beautiful world. But being comfortable and having our sense of security tied up in the things we please ourselves with here, is not what makes it beautiful. He made and makes it beautiful. Our comforts and pleasant perspective of our sugar-coated, sacrificial lamb, who died to make sure we have comfortable lives, are not what makes life worth living.

Yes, I agree Robert. I believe we are all in for a big, painful, stunning shock, if indeed Our Lord comes unexpectedly, as He promised us He would in yesterday's kick-off of Advent, and finds us judging the poor, and rejecting, mocking, and scowling at the prophets who bring uncomfortable news that disrupts our comfortable places in the pew.

O Come Divine Messiah!
11/29/2010 2:32:24 PM
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Robert Westenberger
Red- Amen brother!!! People need to read about Our Ladys message from Fatima...Its vital to our times, as many of the recent Popes can attest. Im not a theologian,barely got out of high school. But through physical,mental and spiritual suffering Ive become more aware of the present situation. Bottom line- your either for Him or against Him. The middle ground fence is shaking back and forth...what side will you fall on? Ive chosen my side. God bless all my Christian brothers and sisters. Stay close to our Lady!
11/29/2010 4:28:36 PM
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Never mind. I tried adding to the discussion and failed.
11/30/2010 8:26:03 PM
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F Raiser
Nothing else I could ask for more but to be fully prepared for his coming and start it out by finding myself where my Mount Zion is this season.

God bless you Father Robert Barron for your very enlightening sermon.
12/1/2010 8:43:11 AM
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Wonderful, love to see people commenting on this. I agree with Roberts comments. If you are undecided,unconvinced, a little wishy washy about Authentic Catholic Teaching, and may not like any kind of confrontation regarding the Catholic faith, I think you are in a very precarious position. We all should get ready, and be prepared to stand up for the truth, the whole and nothing but the truth, so help you God. You will have to make up your mind and choose. Fence Sitting is not an option you see, because the fence belongs to the devil.
12/1/2010 12:32:53 PM
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I don't think there was anything at all like failure in what you shared. I particularly liked this part you passed along:
"Let's respect real human sentiments and then point people towards Christ, shall we?"
I believe that is profound, solid Catholic doctrine! I'm sure Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II have expressed the same teaching in numerous ways, so yes, thank you for reminding us all. Plenty of things for Christians to learn from one another. God bless.
12/1/2010 2:41:19 PM
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michael jaffray king
I am commenting rather late... From my previous posts I am sure many of you will realise that I am a great advocate of Word on Fire and of our new 21st century Bishop Sheen... Servant of God... Father Robert Barron..
It's great to see so many comments and well written ones too. I can see the fire in nearly all of your remarks and am wondering what does Father Bob really mean when he says that PERHAPS Newagers have their place...The Devil has his place too... If it were not for him we would not really have free choice...I am surely not an advocate of the Devil or of New Age but I am bound to love Newagers, Jehovawitnesses, Atheists, Communists and even Protestants...I say even Protestants because I think that they are the most annoying. Having been one for nearly 40 years and having walked in their way through mainly ignorance and now that I can see so clearly, yes they annoy me as they refuse to examine the splendour of truth and are kind of stuck in a rut. They really have no excuse as with the Internet we can all easily find out facts that were buried deep in time consuming Public Libraries, when I was growing up and growing old too, and are now just a few seconds away on my keyboard of my Laptop.
Let me end by once again saying how deeply grateful I am to God for allowing the world to be blessed with Word on Fire.
As we pray that really powerful Prayer the Rosary, let's continue to keep Word on Fire at the top of the list of our priorities. The hurting world so desperately needs the Catholicism Project and the teachings of our Church put so simply and so challengingly by Father B!!
12/3/2010 11:56:04 PM
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