Rorate Caeli

Homily for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany: “There are Pirates in the Boat”

A traditional Catholic priest sent us his homily from last Sunday to publish for our readers.

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

At that time, Jesus got into a boat, and His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but He was asleep. So they came and woke Him, saying: Lord, save us! We are perishing! But He said to them: Why are you fearful, o you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm. And the men marveled, saying: what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him? (From the Gospel of the day: Matthew VIII, 23-27)

Dear Brethren,

The words of the Holy Gospel that we just heard tell us of what happened when the boat where Jesus was with his disciples was faced with a terrible storm. The waves were so big that it seemed that the boat would sink. So the disciples cried out to the Lord and the storm disappeared.

This is what happened at that time. And this is what is happening today. If we move beyond the literal meaning of the Scriptures, we will be able to see in the Gospel for today not only a faithful narration of what happened in the past, but also a very accurate description of what is happening today. This Gospel teaches us many precious lessons in these terrible times of confusion and scandals.

That boat, where Jesus was with his disciples, is a figure of the Church, the Church navigating the sea of this world, navigating toward heaven. And the storms are all the trials that the Church has to face here on earth. So the Church is a spiritual boat, the boat of Christ, which leads us to the port of salvation. The Catholic Church is the Boat of Christ, the only one that can take us to heaven. And how comforting to know that we are inside this boat!

However, we see in the Gospel that this boat would not be spared storms. The boat would shake; the boat would swing… The Church would not be spared the attacks of her enemies, who would try, without interruption, to sink the boat. 

We can see that from the very beginning of the Church: persecutions from the Jews; persecutions from the pagans; and then all the heresies that the Church had to fight over the centuries. So many trials... And sometimes these trials were so strong, sometimes the waves were so big, that it seemed that the boat was going to sink. 

But no, the boat didn’t sink… it is still floating. All the tactics of the devil seem to have failed.

But the enemy of God is very clever. He would not give up so easily: he tried to attack the Church openly, and it didn’t work. So he tried another path. His new plan was to quietly insinuate agents of evil into the Church, who would distill their poison, who would corrupt the truth, but now without being recognized. 

The plan was to send pirates to hijack the boat of the Church -- pirates who would pretend to be members of the crew of Christ, but who were, instead, members of the crew of Satan. Pirates from the red flag of communism. Pirates from the rainbow flag of immorality. Pirates from the white flag of ecumenism, this false peace that does not come from Christ, because it compromises the Truth. 

My brethren, it is with great sadness that we see that these pirates made their way into the boat. They made their way into the Church. 

If in the past they had to be careful not be recognized, nowadays they don’t hide anymore. And we can recognize the pirates, not by the clothes they use, but by the words they say. We recognize the infiltrators by their teachings. If someone teaches the truth of Christ, he is from the crew of Christ. But if someone teaches something contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is not from Christ, but he is a pirate. It is as simple as that.

So we have to be aware: there are pirates in the boat, there are pirates in the Church. And I would be guilty of a grave sin if I didn’t alert you. This sect of pirates is trying to take control of the Church, and has even climbed to positions of authority in order to give the Church a new direction, opposed to the life giving words of Our Lord. They want to create a “paradigm shift”, a new religion: free from doctrine, free from morality… in a word: free from Christ. They don’t want Christ anymore, because Christ bothers; the words of Christ do not allow them to do whatever they want. And so, of Christ they keep the name only, but not the reality. And then they preach this empty Christ, this deformed Christ, claiming “a new understanding” of things. 

I can give you some examples.

Our Lord said that a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. But now they say it’s okay. The Holy Scriptures condemn homosexuality, but now they say it’s all right. The Church always taught that there can be no salvation outside the True Faith, but now they say that it is not really like that.

My brethren, we should know that Truth cannot change. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord shall remain forever. We cannot try to update the Word of God.

But the pirates do try to change the words of God. They are the anti-Church, somehow mingled with the Church of Christ. The weeds are mingled with the wheat. The Church is in eclipse.

So in these very difficult times, we are called to prove the spirits, as Saint John says, in order to see if they come from God. We have to compare the teachings we receive with what the Church has always taught. That is why we must know our Faith, we must study our Faith, in order to discern what is true from what is false. And that is how we will be able to separate the weeds from the wheat, the heresies from the Truth, and the pirates from the true ministers of Jesus Christ. 

Yes, my brethren, there are pirates in the boat. And they are working hard in order to “change the Church”, what is just a nice euphemism for “destroying” the Church. That is what they are up to.

And in these conditions, should we jump out of the boat? Should we leave the Church? No, never! The boat is ours! They are the ones who have to go away.

You know that the situation today is very delicate, very painful. However, with all these scandals coming to light, we have reasons to be hopeful that this will bring about a great purification in the Church; that all the pirates will be named and cast out, and that the true face of the Church will shine again. 

Let us have hope, and never forget that Our Lord is in the boat with us. 

But if He seems to be sleeping, it is time for us to wake him up with our prayers, with our supplications, asking His boundless mercy that the Church may be delivered from Her enemies, from without and from within, and may experience some peace.

Domine, salva nos perimus.
Lord, save us lest we perish.