Lent 3 Oculi 2024

Oculi 2024
March 3, 2024
Luke 11:14-28

In John’s vision he saw war in heaven. St. Michael and the holy angels fought against Satan and his angels. Satan was defeated and cast down to earth. The war continues. It is fought here among us and we are the prize. Satan is the strong man who guards us with all that He has. His armor could not defend Him from Jesus, the stronger Man. He has been defeated. Jesus death on the cross has undone Him. But Jesus warns us: there are no empty houses, no neutral countries. If you are not with Him, you are against Him. The consequences are eternal.

We live in crazy times. Once again, we are taught that we must guard our hearts and souls by guarding the Word of God. Jesus says: blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Our opponents live in an upside down world. Listen to what they say in the Temple. They claim Jesus is in league with the devil. They know He helps people, heals and feeds them. They aren’t pleased that He drives off demons, they are annoyed. They are like the Gerasenes who got one of their own back but lost a herd of pigs. That was a fiscal loss. They preferred money and demons to poverty and Jesus. Satan loves to set it up this way. The fastest way to a man’s heart is money, a root of all evil.

The devil is also the one who tells the world that all wars are religious wars. That is total nonsense meant to undermine the goodness of Christianity. Tell me: how was the 2nd Pelponesian war a religious war? How about Alexander’s conquest of Persia? What about the American revolution? It would be closer to the truth to say more wars have been driven by greed or lust for power than by religion.

But our opponents are deluded by demons. They live in an upside down world. In our day, in the schools run by Indiana, on practically every television sitcom or drama they pretend that that boys are girls, that greed is productive, that children should decide for themselves what to learn in school. They claim as scientific fact that which can’t endure the scientific method or be observed. We have doctors whose mission should be to preserve and promote life killing babies and pretending that it is a medical procedure.

How can we remain sane in this insanity? How can we keep the faith? We must read, study, and embrace the Bible. That is how we know what is real.

First all of all we must know the Catechism from the Bible. We must know the apostolic doctrine: that God is One in Three Persons, that the Second Person took on flesh for us and is true God and true Man, crucified and risen.

We must know the proper distinction between Law and Gospel to read the Bible rightly, recognizing that many passages in Holy Scripture show us our sins and show us what God’s will is for our lives. Those passages teach us but they don’t show us salvation directly. Other passages do show us directly. They proclaim God’s love for us, His mercy. They reveal God to us as He wants to be know, showing us our Savior in the Jesus the Messiah.

We must know the Apostolic doctrine also of prayer, Holy Baptism, the Office of the Keys, and the Sacrament of the Altar. In these we know the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation.

That is enough for salvation, but the Bible has more. In our day, we must also know the order of creation, the three estates, and the doctrine of vocation.

The order of creation is that God made everything according to its kind. This is why we can predict what will happen to a puddle of water when the temperature drops below 32. It will freeze. It is predictable because water is according to its kind. It does not behave the way that rocks do or trees do. All of the animals and humans also have a kind, an order and structure, natural law. God made us male and female. Male and female are complimentary. It was not good when Adam was alone. He needs Eve. Together, with God’s blessing, they become a family and are productive. Men are to be the heads of their houses. Wives are to be subordinate. Children are to obey.

We experience the order of creation in three different estates or hierarchies that God has created: the family, the Church, and the government. The family is the basis of it all. The Church and the government are derived from the family. Thus Job, Melchizedek, and Abraham were able to offer sacrifices before the office of priest was limited to the sons of Aaron in the tribe of Levi. That law got added because of transgressions and because of the complexity of the organization and walking through the desert and then being a nation. So also, originally each patriarch would rule his house. That also got taken away because of sin and complexity. But originally priest and patriarch were the same.

We need to know what the duties and responsibilities of each estate are and where they overlap. Broadly speaking the family’s primary responsibility is procreation, nurture, and education, the church’s is catechesis, the conduct of worship and administration of the sacraments, and evangelism, and the state’s is protection. We should expect there to be governmental overreach.

We should also expect failures in all estates and at every level. But we should not abrogate our duties and responsibilities. We owe the government some of our love, our money, and our sons, but not everything. The government is not God. We owe the Church reverence, tithes, and even obedience, but again, not blindly. The Church is led by fallible men. Pastors can certainly fail. So can voters’ assemblies and conventions. And even the family cna become corrupted and abusive.

So what to do with imperfect families, churches, and country? Insofar as it is possible to suffer and work for good, we should. We should not rebel against a father easily. At the same time we recognize that God is our true Father, that He setteth the solitary into families, that His mother, brothers, and sisters are those who hear the Word of God and keep it. So also He is our great high priest and He is our King. All of the estates are found and perfected in Him. He is the One who begot us, who feeds us, who teaches, forgives, and protects us.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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