A Stand-Down with Eternal Implications

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

THE Military term -- Stand-Down -- has various meanings. One that I experienced, while in Vietnam in 1967-1968, had to do with the Line-Officers using that period of cessation from field combat situations to assess with their troops their performance while in combat. In so doing, the troops would have the opportunity of improving their chances of survival in future combat operations.

It dawned on me that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a supernatural form of a “Stand-Down,” with eternal implications -- since through this Sacrament, the Lord has us evaluate how our decisions and actions of the past week or past month stood within the guidance parameters set forth in the Ten Commandments -- God’s blueprint on how to survive as a human being when surrounded by a cynical, godless environment.

The fact is we are in a spiritual life and death struggle to retain that image and likeness of God in our souls as revealed in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness…”

“For what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or, what exchange shall a man give for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

The seriousness in the application of this revelation is clearly revealed in the 25th Chapter of St. Matthew where God is shown to have an intricate part in our relationships with one another -- and where this is present, there will be eternal joy; and where this is absent, there will be eternal regret. “…And the king will say to them (the righteous)... ‘Amen, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me…;’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels… What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’”

Implied, then, in this teaching of Jesus is the horror that follows those who find themselves separated from the eternal life of God -- the real and most graphic meaning of “death” -- an eternity of “existing” without God but never “living” with God -- the difference between heaven and hell.

I found trying to survive as a human being to be extremely difficult, when embroiled in the violence and chaos of war in Vietnam; but when I returned to the United States, I found it far more difficult to survive as a human   being here in an environment that has a government, in its three powers, having grown over the years corrupt and immoral; and its people ruled by the religion of Leftism, as exemplified in the “legal” murder of the innocent in the womb; the defiance of the natural law as seen in the glorification of homosexuality; and now the redefining of marriage to include same sex; trans-genderism, where the tyranny of subjectivism is exchanged for the reality of biological nature -- all of which, should you oppose it, makes you an object of ridicule and scorn.

In such an arrogantly godless environment, survival as a human being requires we not lose the image and likeness of God as revealed in Genesis above. The myriad of attacks against our coming to know and love God, and eventually losing this gift of His Image in us, becomes the greatest threat to our destiny -- a destiny which is not to be found in time but in eternity. This we know, since, when Christ came forth from the tomb which is the destiny of ‘time,’ God had revealed that the tomb is not our destiny but rather the mystery of Eternity as revealed in His Resurrection: “I am the Resurrection and the Life…he who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11 :25).

And that which can help us to preserve this gift of being made in God’s image and likeness is summed up in the example of the life, death and    Resurrection of Jesus Christ, from Whom has come the means of ‘Salvation’ through His divinely instituted Church (Matthew 16:16); and the Sacraments, among which is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (John 20 :22) which serves as a supernatural Stand-down -- reviewing what we have done, and assessing how we handled incorrectly or correctly ourselves in those ‘secularistic,’ sinful skirmishes which can threaten our spiritual survival, as displayed by the dissolute lives of the godless who inundate us with their sinful lifestyle, euphemistically termed “political correctness.”

And again, since Christ, gave us this Sacrament of Reconciliation, after He came forth from the tomb, so each time we go to confession with this    understanding, we are making an act of Faith in the Resurrection of Christ from the dead -- which also symbolizes our coming forth from our own   spiritual tomb of sin, and now graced in our oneness with the Risen Christ.

Recall St. Paul reminding us: “If Christ Jesus be not risen from the dead, then we are the most miserable of men since we are still in our sins...”(1 Corinthians 15:14-17). Thus these frequent visits to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation increase OUR FAITH IN THE RISEN CHRIST and so also open us to growing in God’s love for us, since the only way we can know someone loves us, is by our putting faith in that they mean it. Since God is unlimited Love, (and Faith and Love are intertwined), then there should be no limit to our faith in the love of Jesus! And in this way, when we say to one another: “I love you with the love of Christ”; this love becomes a love that not even death can steal away, since it is enriched with the eternal love of God -- a Love: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor has it entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).


Tags: Fr. Robert, homily

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