That’s a very difficult Gospel, but we might understand a little bit with the talk where going to have today which is, the Creed – the part which says, “He suffered under Pontus Pilot”. Who is this Pontus Pilot? Certainly he’s a weak man and like other weak men, he always wants to keep everybody happy. Pilot wanted to keep the Priests and the Jewish mob happy, he wanted to keep his wife happy, he wanted to keep Herod and his flunkies and flatterers happy, he really wanted to keep Caesar happy and he even wanted to keep Jesus Christ happy. He wanted to set Him free, but Pilot like most weak people, who want to keep everybody happy, ended up keeping nobody happy. After he finished in Judea, Palestine the Jews went to Rome to complain about his bad governance, his career finished in shame. Us Christians – from then until now until eternity, we condemn him in the Creed. That leads me to another question though. Regards the Creed, of all the villains who were involved in the sufferings of our Lord, who made Him suffer, why is Pilot mentioned, why isn’t it Caiaphas the high Priest or Judas the traitor that’s mentioned. No, no it’s Pilate. The answer here comes from the great British priest and preacher, monsignor Ronald Knocks. He says that, by naming Pilate in the creed, the Church anchors down to a definitive moment in history the life and times of our Lord. You see Jesus Christ isn’t an imaginary person... For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
There was a great British writer called G K Chesterton and he said, the difficulty I have in explaining why I am Catholic, is because there are ten thousand reasons, but all those reasons amount to one, Catholicism is true. Mr Chesterton believed in the Holy Catholic Church, I believe in the Holy Catholic Church and indeed we have reached this article of our faith today, which is I believe in the Holy Catholic Church. We are going to look at these three parts of this article of faith today. We’re going to start back to front. Church, what does church mean? It’s a translation of the Latin word ecclesia, which is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, which means to call out from, to assemble to convocated, it means convocation, convocation of who? The Holy people of God, why are they Holy, because the assembly to which they belong is Holy. I believe in the Holy Catholic Church. Why is she Holy? Well, Our Lord is the fount and source of all holiness, right? But our Lord is present in the Church, like no other organisation. That’s why St. Paul calls the Church the body of Christ. His Church, His Body. This Church, this Ecclesia, this body of Christ is an instrument by which Christ sanctifies the world, by those who want to be sanctified…For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
So we’re talking about the communion of Saints today. But a silly joke first. There was a painter and decorator, called Jock. He was very dishonest, he was habituality dishonest in his work, because he thinned out his paint with turpentine. Well one day the Church was up for renovation, the parish priest offered people the chance to put in their bids. But Jock got the job, because he put in the lowest bid, because he used the cheapest paint. However, on the first day of work, he just about finished the first coat of paint on the front of the Church, when the heavens opening up the rain started to come down and not only did Jocksy, all that paint get washed off, it was so thin that it hadn’t even dried. But he also fell of the scaffolding. Landed on the lawn, but he wasn’t hurt thankfully. But he did understand that this was a message from God. So he said Lord I’m sorry, forgive me what shall I do. Hands clasped together. The heavens bellowed out through the thunder, repaint, repaint and thin no more. God has a sense of humour, God is able to forgive any sin, give a second chance. Everybody deserves a second chance, but we Catholics shouldn’t have to ask a second chance in these habitual life sins. We can fall into sin, but to be in a habitual sin like Jock there, that doesn’t correspond to a person who is in the communion of saints. For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
I said we were going to talk about the article of Faith, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins’, principally that refers to sins being forgiven, original sin, through baptism. But people sin after baptism, people need forgiveness. Jesus also came to give another type of forgiveness, the type that Zacchaeus received. Forgiveness of sins, it’s a get out of jail card for every time we commit grave sin. That’s what we’ll talk about today. Suppose one of your friends offended you, was nasty, hurt your feelings. But later on they came back and said they were sorry. You probably forgive them, because you’d probably have many different reasons to forgive them. For instances, perhaps you are a person whose of an easy going nature and you don’t want the hassle of a feud, so you forgive. Or maybe you’re a person who forgives the other one, because she moves in better circles. She’s little miss popular, and you want to stay moving in those circles so you forgive her for that reason. Or maybe you just don’t like drama, no great harm hasn’t be done… For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio. For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
So this text gives us an opportunity to talk about the second last article of faith in the creed, ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body.’ But the context here is important to have in place. You see Jesus apart from being persecuted by Herod and his political allies, He was also persecuted by the two groups; one the Pharisees and the other the Sadducees. They had a common goal, the destruction of Jesus of Nazareth. But they were different in the practices and beliefs. The Pharisees we know, were men who were extreme hypocrites, many of them. There were people who were just a religious body, whereas the Sadducees, were religious and political. The Sadducees were the nobility and most of them were priests and they were big into politics and the religious life, particularly in the temple. The Pharisees, they followed the law of Moses, the Profits and about a thousand other little, tiny, minuscule rules and regulations for everyday life. The Sadducees weren’t interested in that. They followed the written rule of Moses and that was it. Again the Pharisees, believed in spirits, in Angels in the resurrection. The Sadducees did not believe in in spirits, in Angels in the resurrection. So they were quite different in the modus operandi, but had this common goal to destroy Jesus of Nazareth. Today it was the Sadducees that confront Jesus, the Pharisees having failed. They put this question to Him. A question which is meant to make belief in the resurrection seem ridiculous. They say ‘So if a woman marries one man and he’s gone, then she marries another man and he’s gone…’ For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.