Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. G. Peter Irving III

1/19/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sin never leads to happiness. It only leads to sadness and a gnawing emptiness.

Highlights

By Fr. G. Peter Irving III

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/19/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: abortion issue, roe v wade, year of faith, daily homily, Fr. G. Peter Irving, Margaret Sanger, Mike Wallace, contraception, aborton, sin, conversion, Saint Matthew


LONG BEACH, CA (Catholic Online) - Whether you are traveling through some unfamiliar part of town or you are not really sure where you are headed in life, being lost can be both frustrating and frightening. In contrast, what joy and relief there is when you finally figure out where you are and where you are going.

Today's Gospel tells us of the joy of a Jew named Levi who had lost his way on the road of life. One day, Jesus walked into his office and said, "Follow me." Without the slightest hesitation, Levi rose from his desk and leaving everything, began to follow the Lord.

This notorious sinner, who by God's grace discovered his vocation as Apostle, Evangelist and Martyr of Jesus Christ, is now known the world over as St. Matthew. But "Before Christ," Levi-Matthew had been a member of a despised class of Jews who were considered "public sinners" and traitors to the nation because they served as agents of the Roman occupation.

Levi's job was to exact taxes from the Jewish populace for imperial Rome. The taxes were onerous and ridiculously exorbitant. Over time Levi got more or less used to the unpleasant faces and the frequent words of contempt with which he was greeted at his taxation station. But hey, the pay was good and after a while in a job like this, one grows an extra layer of skin.

At the same time, it is safe to assume that on the inside Levi was not a happy man. Are abortionists and pornographers deeply contented people? I highly doubt it (tax collectors in Judea were viewed with a similar revulsion). And as they get older and draw closer to the "judgement cliff," I cannot imagine how such people could possibly look back on their lives with a sense of serenity and profound satisfaction. I suppose there are exceptions, but I bet there are many more who are haunted incessantly by their past misdeeds.

I remember watching a rare interview which Margaret Sanger, the founder of the world's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, gave to the late Mike Wallace, the veteran TV reporter. The year was 1957 and Sanger was 78 years of age.

The topic was not abortion; abortion was still illegal. Rather, the central theme of their conversation was birth control for which Sanger had been a fierce advocate for decades. She was the engine behind the movement to liberalize restrictive birth control laws and by the time of this interview birth control was legal in many states.

The Wallace-Sanger interview touched upon a variety of other topics as well, ranging from God, the Catholic Church and the natural law to the definition of sin, infidelity, divorce and even briefly, homosexuality. The video and the transcript of the entire interview are readily available online.

Mike Wallace did an amazingly good job of asking tough questions, often quoting from Sanger's own writings and statements. Sanger was stubbornly evasive and Wallace doggedly pursued her nonetheless.

Throughout the interview, Sanger is twitching, nervously scratching her head and constantly fidgeting. She rarely smiles and appears humorless and unfeeling. What comes through in the stark black and white kinescope recording is a joyless figure nearing the end of her days. In fact, Margaret Sanger died just six years after this interview was conducted.

I make mention of this because it helps to illustrate a point. Sin never leads to happiness. It only leads to sadness and a gnawing emptiness. No matter how much one attempts to rationalize it or wrap it in a cloak of altruism or deny it altogether (Sanger did all three), sin is sin and the "wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Please understand, I am not pronouncing judgment on Margaret Sanger's soul. That's God's job. But there's no getting around the fact that for all of her adult life, both in her personal and public life, Sanger was scoring goals for the other team.

But so was Levi-Matthew, at least until that day Jesus came along and invited him to be His follower. This most unlikely conversion shows that no one is beyond God's reach, no one is beyond His mercy.

"As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man's conversion ..." (Ezekiel 33:11).

Pope Benedict XVI tells us that in St. Matthew "the Gospels present to us a true and proper paradox: those who seem to be the farthest from holiness can even become a model of the acceptance of God's mercy and offer a glimpse of its marvelous effects in their own lives" (General Audience, August 30, 2006).

The Prayer After Communion for the Feast of St. Matthew (September 21) reads:

Sharing in that saving joy, O Lord, with which Saint Matthew welcomed the Savior as a guest in his home, we pray: grant that we may always be renewed by the food we receive from Christ.

This saving joy which Matthew experienced led him to host a banquet at his house in Jesus' honor and invite his friends, most of whom were fellow "tax collectors and sinners." He had just given up everything to follow Christ, but he wasn't sad. Instead, he threw a party! Why? Because he had been lost but now he was found. He was exceedingly grateful to the Lord and he could not contain his joy.

These words spoken by our Holy Father at his inaugural Mass as pope come to mind: "Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return" (Homily, Benedict XVI, April 24, 2005).

Sin always leads to sadness. If left unattended to and "untreated," as it were, sin can lead to despair and final impenitence. On the other hand, true conversion leads to joy. When one finds his way, when one knows he's on the path that God has set out for him, the heart rejoices. "Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD" (Psalm 119:1).

We can ask ourselves, How readily have I responded to the call of God in my life? Am I generously following the path He has shown me or am I holding back? Do I know the saving joy that comes from following God's will?

Grant, O Lord, that we may always be renewed by the food we receive from Christ.

Just as Jesus entered into St. Matthew's life and changed him forever, more and more the Lord wants to enter into our lives especially in our times of prayer and in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is where He feeds us and speaks to our souls. Can you not hear Him say to you the very words He spoke to Levi-Matthew? "Follow me!" And what will be your answer?

In this Year of Faith we should be praying for the grace of conversion for ourselves and for the whole world. God wants everyone to be saved and to know the joy of living in His presence. May Holy Mary, Refuge of Sinners, and St. Matthew, sinner turned saint, intercede for us!

Fr. G. Peter Irving III is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is pastor of Holy Innocents Church, Long Beach, California.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter