Homily Preparation Notes
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
1706 By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil."9 Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person.
9 Gaudium et Spes 16.
Observations on CCC 1706
-There is something absolute about conscience, shared by every human person on earth: a sense that we ought to choose what is good morally, and avoid what is evil.
-Some cultural differences to be found… but definitely some absolutes.
-The law of love for God and neighbor sums it all up!
-Prudence will help us determine case-by-case what is really love, and what is anti-love.
-But prudence must be informed so that it is in line with objective reality. It is not enough to have a whimsical opinion about what is right and wrong… certainly not enough simply to feel drawn in one direction or the other because of passion or emotion.…
Observations on Matthew 16:13-20
-St. Peter is led to understand Jesus identity by the Holy Spirit.
-Throughout the centuries the Holy Spirit will continue to guide the chair of St. Peter, so that error in doctrine and morals is avoided.
-A significant part of correctly following conscience is correctly to instruct conscience.
-The devil is the “father of lies”, and his only hope of overcoming the Church is to get us to believe lies and live accordingly.
-We must avail ourselves of adequate resources: Church teachings expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, various people expressly seeking correctly to interpret the teachings of the Church.
Observations on Luke 18:9-14
-It would be a grave error to exalt our own sense of conscience to the exclusion of consultation with established sources.
-There is something very healthy in the publican's approach in the temple, acknowledging his weakness, self-effacement.
-There is a relativism that permeates our society, even promoted by some teachers in the church, by which it is assumed that the Church's teaching about the need to follow conscience leads to a belief that two people could hold absolutely contradicting positions on the moral issue, and both of them be right… because each one is following his conscience.
From the Saints
-St. John Chrysostom: “Poor human reason when it trusts in itself substitutes the strangest absurdities for the highest divine concepts.”
-St. John Eudes: “Reason and human science often lead you into error because they are too weak and limited to penetrate to the knowledge of the things of God, which are infinite and incomprehensible. Human intelligence and knowledge also deceive you, because they are too full of the darkness and obscurity of sin to attain to a genuine knowledge even of things outside of God.”
-St. Catherine of Siena: “You cannot imagine how foolish people are. They have no sense of discernment, having lost it by hoping in themselves and putting their trust in their own knowledge. Most of the people, do you not see that you are not the source of your own knowledge? It is my goodness, providing for your needs, that has given it to you.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas: “He who does not embrace the teaching of the Church does not have the habit of faith.”