13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 28, 2015

June 29, 2015 Father De Celles Homily

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2015

Homily by Fr. John De Celles

St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church

Springfield, VA


Do you remember the classic scene from the movie Casablanca,

when the police captain says:

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!”

and then the dealer hands him a stack of chips saying:

“…Your winnings, sir.”


That’s kind of how I felt on Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court

handed down its decision

that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage.

Of course, like Captain Renault in Rick’s Café (Américain),

I wasn’t really “shocked” at all to learn

that 5 justices had twisted the clear meaning of the Constitution

to invent a brand new right, just because they wanted to.

We’ve seen this before, and we’ll see it again.


But, now that it’s happened in this case, everything has changed.

Because sadly, many Americans think that if the Supreme Court said it,

it must be true.

Which is strange, because the Supreme Court once said

that black Americans weren’t human beings,

and that Japanese Americans could be imprisoned without trial,

and that separate but equal schools for blacks were okay,

and that women had a right to kill their unborn babies.


And it’s also strange because their decisions often come down to one vote,

as it did in this case.

Five justices said there was a right to same sex marriage,

but four said they were crazy.

5 to 4, so just one man, Justice Kennedy, who cast the deciding vote,

one unelected judge, changed everything.


And yet, now, most Americans will consider the matter settled.

Even worse, some of you will agree, if not now, someday soon.


And that is the really shocking thing.

I ask myself:

Does it matter what the Supreme Court, what one justice on the Supreme Court, says?

Does it really matter what the government says at all?

Or what public opinion polls say?

Or what the media says?

Or what Hollywood says?


On the other hand, does it NOT matter

that almost all human beings for thousands of years, as far back as we can tell

thought marriage was obviously only between a man and a woman?

And does it NOT matter that the Church has always believed,

and infallibly taught, the same thing?

Or that Pope Francis has repeatedly reaffirmed this teaching,

including in his new encyclical?


Does it NOT matter that the Holy Spirit himself tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:

“Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers,

male prostitutes, homosexuals

….none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”

(And to clarify, the Greek here refers to homosexual acts, not the inclination.)

Or that Jesus Himself defined marriage, in Matthew 19:

“he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,

and said, ‘For this reason a man shall…be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh’?”

Or that Jesus went on to acknowledge

that it is impossible for some people to get married:

“For some …because they were born that way;

others were made that way by men…”


Does it NOT matter that your father and mother, and their father and mother,

on and on back through every generation of your ancestors,

vehemently thought that homosexual acts were wrong?

Or that for all of human history human society has been built

on the fundamental building block of the marriage of a man and a woman?

Or that there is no proof that a same sex marriage can fill that role?


Does it NOT matter that the marriage of a male and female

unites the two halves of the human race,

and provides children with a constant loving example on how to

respect and love both men and women

—and same sex relationships simply can’t?

Or that the bodies of males and females are made

to naturally fit and complete each other,

and designed to join together in the sexual act to create a new human life?

Or that the bodies of two males do not fit at all,

and join together in such a way

that is literally physically harmful and unhealthy to their bodies?


Does it NOT matter that saying, “but they love each other”

is not enough to demand marriage?

If a married man with 5 kids falls in love with another woman

is that enough to say he can marry the other woman?

If a brother and sister, or a father and daughter, love each other,

should they be allowed to marry?

If a man loves 5 women, and they love him, can they all get married?



I’ve said most of this in other homilies over the last 5 years here at St. Raymond’s,

and over the last 20 years since my ordination.

What more is there to say?

Except maybe what Justice John Roberts said

when he voted against the decision on Friday:

“The majority …openly relying on its desire

to remake society according to its ownnew insight” …

orders the transformation of a social institution

that has formed the basis of human society for millennia,

for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese,

the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.

Just who do we think we are?”


That about sums it up: “Just who do we think we are?”



I had been planning on preaching today about the Holy Father’s new encyclical,

Laudato Si’—that topic has obviously been preempted.

But it’s interesting that a lot of folks who are excited about the encyclical

have focused only on parts that are not binding Church teaching,

and ignored the actual core teaching,

the core principle at the heart of the encyclical:

that God created everything around us in a particular way,

with a particular nature, which must be respected.

There is, in short, a natural law that governs how we must treat nature,

including human nature.

So that if it is true that significant distortions

to the smallest parts of the eco-system

can have a devastating effect on the wider environment,

it must also be true that significant distortions

to the most basic parts of the human-system

will have a devastating effect on human society.

If you think replacing a forest with a skyscraper might be a bad idea,

how can you not see that replacing natural male-female marriage

with some other construct of marriage is a bad idea as well?



Now, some of you will, once again, think all this makes me a hater and a bigot.

Or at least some of you are concerned that you might be considered

a hater and bigot if you agree with me.

But are all those people who rejected same sex marriage throughout history

hateful bigots?

How about all the Catholic saints you admire so much, were they hateful bigots?

Is Pope Francis a hateful bigot?

Is the Holy Spirit a hateful bigot?

Is Jesus, who died on the Cross out of love for all of us, a hateful bigot?

Were your parents and grandparents hateful bigots?


We do not hate anyone.

How is it hate if I think that something is bad for you, and for all of us,

and that you shouldn’t do it?

How is it hate if I think that male-female marriage is so important to society

that it shouldn’t be tinkered with?

How is it hate even if I get angry when

I think someone is stealing something important from society,

and so hurting our nation and our children?


If it’s evil for me to be angry over what I perceive to be an injustice,

then it’s evil for anyone to be angry about this homily.

But I don’t think that’s the case at all.

I think if someone gets angry at me, I should assume they are just misled,

or haven’t thought it through,

or perhaps confused by strong emotions

—not that they hate.


Even so, get ready.

For those who follow Christ and his Church and common sense,

who believe in a natural law so evidently displayed in male and female bodies,

things are about to get very bad.

We will all be called bigots and haters.

We will be forced to do things we fundamentally oppose.

We will be abused and discriminated against.

Mark my words: within 10 years, maybe 5,

there will be a move to take away the Church’s tax-exempt status.

And if they don’t actually do it, government will at least seriously and publicly threaten

to fine or imprison priests and ministers for what they preach

or for refusing to officiate at same sex weddings.


But this persecution will not come just from the government and strangers.

It will very soon come from our own best friends.

And most sadly from our own siblings and our children.

And we will come to understand what Christ meant when he said:

“Do not think I have come to bring peace…

I have come to set a man against his father,

and a daughter against her mother,…

He who loves …son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me….”


Christ does not want to divide families, but he knows that the truth he teaches

will be opposed, even in families.

But while our Creator created us to love and defend our families,

he created us first to be loved by Him and to love Him in return.



So we must not betray Him.

Because what is at stake is not simply the survival of western culture or American society.

And it’s not simply the survival of the family as an institution,

or even your personal family.

All that is at stake—and obviously of huge importance.

But in the end, and most importantly, what’s at stake is our immortal soul

and the souls of our children.

Remember what Jesus tells us about sexual sin:

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.

It is better for you to lose one part of your body

than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

Now, Jesus uses strong language to make his point:

he doesn’t want you to pluck out your eye,

but he does want us to stop sexual sins lest we “be thrown into hell.”


We don’t like to tell people they might go to hell—it’s a hard thing to hear.

Jesus probably didn’t like to do it either, but he did it because he loves us.

And if family members and friends really love each other,

they will not hesitate tell each other the truth,

especially about the terrible sinfulness of same sex acts

and their glorification in same sex marriage.

You cannot love someone and do nothing to stop them from burning in hell.



Even so, if you love them, act like you love them.

Try not to be angry, because anger, even when it’s justified,

is too often misinterpreted as hatred.

Try to be patient, kind, and compassionate.

Remember to love the person, not the situation or the sin.

But never confuse mercy with deceit or compromise:

be clear on what is right and wrong, and never directly cooperate with this evil.


And never give up hope.

The other day after receiving the news about the Court’s decision

I told my secretary:

“we need to start planning the funeral,

because western culture just died.”


And then I read today’s gospel.

When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house everyone was

“weeping and wailing loudly” because Jairus daughter was dead.

But then it says, Jesus “took the child by the hand and said to her,

…“Talitha koum….Little girl, …arise!”

The girl…arose immediately and walked around.”


Today we mourn over the coming downfall, the death, of our society.

But not without hope.

Jesus Christ is our hope.

He has conquered sin and death, and he has vanquished the devil.

And so like Jairus, we go to Jesus with faith, and to paraphrase today’s gospel,

“fall at his feet and plead earnestly with him, saying,

“our society is at the point of death.

Please, come lay your hands on her

that she may get well and live.”

And if it be his will, he will come to us, even to our very homes,

and restore even what appears to be surely lost.


As we now move more deeply into this Holy Mass,

as the Lord comes to us in the Holy Eucharist,

truly present, body blood soul and divinity,

let us fall on our knees and beg him

to forgive our nation for betraying his Creative will,

and to grant us the grace, courage, faith, hope and love

to continue to defend the true meaning and purpose of marriage.

And let us beg him that in his boundless love for us,

he may save our nation from cultural death,

our families from collapse and division,

and our Church, and each other, from oppression  and persecution.

And most importantly, let us pray that he may save us all from all of our sins,

and so save us all from eternal death

and bring us all into eternal life.