October 29, 2017
The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Feast of Christ the King (Traditional Calendar)
Today we continue with our little series on the 7 deadly (or capital sins). Today we will consider the sin of anger.
All of us experience feelings of anger from time to time; sometimes often. In animals (including humans) this biological response serves the useful purpose of preservation and protection. Such emotions can be brought on by many different occasions and experiences of danger or hostility; or when we experience or perceive an injury or injustice to have occurred to ourselves or others.
Objectively, anger is not necessarily grievous or sinful. True righteous anger can be justifiable and even morally laudable and virtuous; as when our Lord drove the money changers out of the temple (cf. Mark 11:15). What we do with the emotion / feeling makes all the difference. Of this third deadly or capital sin, St. Thomas Aquinas clearly states that it is “The unreasonable desire for vengeance.”
“Among humans, anger is usually considered as capable of having an ethical rating inasmuch as it can lead to vengeful actions that are disproportionate to the injury suffered or simply unlawful, e.g., murdering a man for an insulting remark. From this point of view an excessive experience of wrath, the misguided discharge of vengeance, or the objectionable damage done in rage to persons or property could result in sins that would be seriously opposed to charity and justice.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)
So much of the goodness God wills us to have in this world is suppressed because too many of His children harbor resentments, grudges, and the desire to get revenge at those who have hurt them. When one allows these thoughts to control them and to plot how they might actually carry out this revenge, they are guilty of the sin of anger. And it will surely destroy the angry person. The sin of anger is spiritually and emotionally blinding and damages our relationship / communication with God and each other.
Forgiveness (and letting go) is the answer. Jesus preached and lived it, again and again. Forgiveness heals relationships and puts the Devil to flight. Forgiveness says, “Let’s interrupt the cycle of violence and hatred; block it, stop it.” Fight anger with forgiveness. That is what Jesus did on the cross. Make real, concrete steps to heal broken relationships. They will not heal by themselves; by ignoring them. Active forgiveness is absolutely necessary.
St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507) gave some very good advice for how we should live in God’s sight:
“Fix your minds, then, on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, He came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake He endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.
“Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and a poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight. It is like a worm in the mind: it confuses our speech and tears to shreds our petitions to God. It is foreign to charity: it remains planted in the soul like a nail. It is wickedness that never sleeps, sin that never fails. It is indeed a daily death.
“Be peace-loving. Peace is a precious treasure to be sought with great zeal. You are well aware that our sins arouse God’s anger. You must change your life, therefore, so that God in His mercy will pardon you. What we conceal from men is known to God. Be converted, then, with a sincere heart. Live your life that you may receive the blessing of the Lord. Then the peace of God our Father will be with you always.”
Very often anger will be extinguished when we realistically realize that when we have been offended (wounded pride) by another in 99% of cases it was not deliberate. It was a misunderstanding. Anger leads to arguing which the devil loves. Nothing was ever solved by an argument. It only leads to greater sins. Let our souls be ordered and then everything else in life will fall into place.
MASS OF THANKSGIVING: Today, October 29th there will be a Mass of Thanksgiving for the diaconal ministry among us of Deacon Raymond P. D’Alessio. All of our parishioners are most cordially invited to attend the Mass. There will be a reception for all parishioners, family, and friends in Monsignor Costa Hall after the Mass. Through the kindness of a parishioner, there will be a special surprise treat for the children and adults. (The Mr. Softee truck will be parked outside Msgr. Costa hall for unlimited trips on the part of all). This will set a spiritual tone for the Formal Welcome of Deacon Ray at the Gala Dinner/Casino Night on October 26th. (As I write, the Gala has not yet occurred but already there is a record breaking turnout. Last year’s Gala broke all records with 218 attending. As of now there are more than 220 who will be coming this year). This is an occasion for us as a parish family to give thanks to God for all the many blessings that He has given us in allowing Deacon Ray to come to us.
Because of printing deadlines I will next week write about the parish pilgrimage to the padre Pio Shrine in Barto, Pennsylvania, and our Gala. The autumn has been a wonderful and grace filled time for St. Paul’s. I am firmly convinced the many graces that have come to us in these days are due to the intercession of Our Blessed Mother whose new shrine was erected on our parish grounds.
SAVE THE DATE: On Sunday, November 26th all our parish volunteers and founding members will be recognized and blessed at the 11.000 Mass with a reception to follow. Please be sure to attend that Mass and receive a blessing. It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda
here to edit.