Sermon from Fr Trauner of IMBC - Palm Sunday
Posted on 3rd April 2020 at 14:50
Today we are at the beginning of Holy Week, the Great Week, the days of Our Lord's suffering and death.
At Vespers the Magnificat antiphon reads: “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed” (Mt 26,31; Zach 13,7). The chosen people, the Hebrews, have not recognized their divine shepherd, they did not follow him. Now the Good Shepherd will go and lay down his life for those who follow him in order to set them free from the bonds of death.
The behavior and the fate of the chosen people of the Old Covenant are a constant warning to us. We should attach ourselves to Christ, our shepherd and king. Many want to reign with him, but without wanting to suffer with him first. But this is impossible since the servant is not greater than his master. If the Son of God has found no better nor more efficient means to redeem us than the Cross, then we cannot possibly demand or find a better or more efficient means to save our souls.
But that is exactly what humans try again and again. In modern times this has even become the behavioral pattern, first for individuals, then more and more for human society. They have renounced the Church, Christ and God! The punishment for such a miserable outrage had to follow swiftly.
Now we find ourselves at the end of this development. God leaves mankind to itself. They have turned into enemies of God and haters of God, now they hate themselves. The individual has become its own enemy, it has dragged its true dignity into the dirt: True human dignity consists in man serving God and thus saving his soul. But modern man does not even know that he has a soul, and that he needs to save this soul from sin and Hell. Human society has become hostile to itself because without the recognition of the God-given dignity of the individual no society can exist and function properly over time. As Our Lady predicted in Fatima, Russia has spread its errors of collectivism and socialism all over the world.
Only the Internet, this devilish web, is left now for this new type of mankind. The Internet is used only to a minimal extent for that which is good. It mainly serves the purpose of making people and society more dumb and filthy. The enemy of human nature, Lucifer, now mocks mankind: He shows them where they have ended up by following him, his seductions and his pomp. In recent years, people more and more decided to live in an illusory and fictional world, that of ‘social media’. Its most prominent phenomenon is Facebook. Everyone can display his real or a made-up personality in front of the entire world. Now Lucifer drops the mask, and man has to put it on! Suddenly, people are no longer allowed to have a face - and it is well done for them because they have not shown any character for a long time. The devil never shows himself other than with a frightful grimace. Now our turn has come to conceal and disfigure our face, where our likeness to God is somehow physically expressing itself. Add the “social distancing” that is now fiercely demanded - a contradiction in terms because “social” comes from “sociare – to unite”, whereas people are told to separate - and it becomes obvious who is behind this abolition of the rights and the finality of the human individual and human society. The fallen light bearer or morning star, Lucifer, cannot remain hidden behind this unworthy and surreal scenario that is actually being staged!
In the Exsultet, the jubilant song of the Easter Vigil by which the Easter candle is consecrated, Holy Church praises the true light-bearer, “lucifer”, Christ who has overcome the night of sin and death: “Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat. Ille, inquam, lucifer, qui nescit occasum. - May the daystar of the morning come upon its flame: that daystar which knoweth no setting.” Immediately afterwards the Church prays for the Pope and the Emperor, throne and altar. They have been taken from us for over 100 and over 50 years respectively. So what support do we have left? Only Christ and the Church founded by him, which has been in a state of agony for decades because she is deprived of her human hierarchy: “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed”.
St Paul also often speaks of the light of God, for example in Chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians (v. 6): “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.”
The greatest saint of modern times, St Theresa of Lisieux, had received the religious name “of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face"! The devotion to the Holy Face of Christ is as old as Christianity. According to the age-old legend, at the sixth Station of the Cross St Veronica gave her veil to Christ disfigured so that he could clean his face. When she returned home, she fainted. As she woke up, she discovered that the suffering servant of God had left the imprint of his face on the cloth. At his Resurrection, Christ even more mysteriously – for it is a negative picture – left us the image of his martyred body together with that of his holy countenance on the shroud that has been kept in Turin since the 16th century. Just as the bishop wanted to put it out of sight - undoubtedly because of the constant onslaught of the rationalists throughout the 19th century - it was photographed. That is when the sheer unbelievable was discovered on the photographic negative! Since then, the Turin Shroud has become the most studied and researched single object of all science. Qualified scientists have spent well over half a million hours, constantly drawing to light new knowledge and more details from the material and the Savior’s image. - And yet the people of old believed more intimately without seeing what we can see if we only want to...
The Matins and Lauds of the Sacred Triduum are called "tenebrae - darkness". Christ has repeatedly emphasized the contrast between light and darkness, between day and night when no one can work anymore (cf. Jn 9,4). When Judas leaves the Cenacle, St John expressly states that it was night: “erat autem nox” (Jn 13,30).
Let us not be duped! Many, especially among conservative and traditionalist Catholics, who have little training and knowledge of the Faith, draw wrong parallels or conclusions from the comparison of Christ's life with the life of the Church. Christ had predicted that he would die and rise again. But he also promised that his Church would not perish or die, but that she would continue with his support and assistance until the end of times. Any talk of a “dead” Church or of a future, newly emerging church, a church of the Holy Spirit which replaces the Church of Jesus Christ, is therefore gross nonsense. It is only a new edition of age-old false ideas: Joachim of Fiore, Millenarism, spiritual church.
Let us live through Holy Week - as in our entire Christian life – according to the mind and the example of the saints. Thus St Teresa of Avila prayed: “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” Even if He temporarily pretends to be asleep, this should not shake our Faith. Those who endure with Christ in suffering, to the likeness of Our Lady of Sorrows, will infallibly share in his triumph.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
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