TEXT: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 18, 2023

June 18, 2023 Father De Celles Homily

The 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 18, 2023

Homily by Fr. John De Celles

St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church

Springfield, VA

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of folks are celebrating this month of June

as what they call “Pride Month.”

And a lot of them are trying to force you to celebrate it with them.

It’s always been interesting to me that the “LGBTQ” activists

use the term “pride” to promote their movement

because in Christianity “pride” is considered one of the “Seven Capital Sins,”

or “Seven Deadly Sins,” or “7 Capital Vices.”

This list of sins goes back at least to Pope St. Gregory the Great

around the year 600,

and according to St. Thomas Aquinas, they are sins or vices that

give rise to others, either because

they weaken or dispose us toward other sins,

or because they sort of naturally lead from one to the other.

And the sin of pride is right at the top of the list,

         sometimes called the “Queen” of vices (no pun intended)

or the “Mother” of vices.

But what is pride?

Sometimes we say, for example,

“I’m proud to be an American,” or, “I’m proud of my father.”

Is that a sin?

What exactly is “pride”?

Actually, Webster’s Dictionary offers two diametrically opposed definitions:

On the one hand, it is

reasonable self-esteem: confidence and satisfaction in oneself:


but on the other hand, again according to Websters, it is

exaggerated self-esteem: CONCEIT.”

That sounds about right—but very confusing.

Christianity recognizes these two very different definitions or types of pride:

reasonable self-worth versus exaggerated self-worth.

St. Thomas Aquinas quotes St. Jerome, saying,

“There is a good and an evil pride”;

or “a sinful pride which God resists,

and a pride that denotes the glory which He bestows.”

And so, in today’s 2nd reading, St. Paul tells us,

“We also boast (in other words, we have pride)

of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through Whom we have now received reconciliation.”

He’s saying we have good and reasonable pride, not in ourselves,

but in the amazing gift God has given us in Jesus.


Even so, Christian Scripture and Tradition usually use the term “pride”

to refer to the “exaggerated” sense of self, the sin of pride.

Aquinas says the sin of pride is when

man thinks himself better than he truly, really is…

when he thinks of his goodness in an unreasonable way.

And he continues, most pertinently,

“It is written (Sirach 10:14):

‘The beginning of the pride of man…the root of pride

is found to consist in man not being…subject to God and His rule.”

So we see why it is considered the “Queen” or the “Mother” of all vices/sins:

In pride we consider ourselves greater than God,

love ourselves more than God,

and therefore we do what we want, not what God wants.

We obey ourselves, not God: We can commit any sin we like

because we know better than God and think it’s okay.

In this light, we see that pride is really the “original sin” of Adam and Eve,

who thought they knew better than God, loved themselves more than Him,

and so ignored His command not to eat

from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

—whatever exactly that meant.

And even in its positive definition of “reasonable self-esteem,”

“good pride” is something we always need to be careful of

because it can so easily slip into the vice of pride

due to our fallen nature and our concupiscence

(our tendency to confuse good with evil).

Not only that, but the temptations of the devil.

All this can lead us to very easily slip from reasonable to unreasonable,

from good to evil pride.

For example, if a man has pride in his work, that can be good

if it’s an honest appreciation of the gifts God’s given him.

But that same pride might easily lead to him thinking

his work is better than the next guy’s work,

and then to think he’s somehow better than the next guy,

so the next guy is lesser than him,

and so why is that guy getting more recognition than me,

and… so the sin of pride leads to envy, jealousy, etc.

So pride is not really something to celebrate too much.

And yet it makes perfect sense that the LGBTQ folks embrace it as their motto. Think about it: Going back to Genesis,

and God’s creation of Mankind in His image as male and female,

complimentary to each other,

equal in dignity, but radically and wondrously different,

to express their love through mutual and fruitful self-gift.

God defines humanity by this gift;

He designs us in a certain wonderful way.

But then man begins to yield to the sin of pride

and rejects God’s plan, the truth about the nature of man.

And that sin of pride is exactly what the “gay” and “transgender” movements

are rooted in:

They reject God and His plan in nature for mankind,

particularly how it is expressed in his sexuality and body.


So then, how can a Catholic celebrate “pride month”?

We can not.


Now, for almost two hundred years Catholics have celebrated June

not as “LGBTQ Pride Month,”

but as the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

And what does Jesus tell us about His heart?

Today’s gospel tells us,

“At the sight of the crowds, Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them…”

His heart has pity, which flows from His mercy, which flows from His Charity,

His unconditional love.

And it is this mystery of His love and mercy that we rightly primarily

associate with His Sacred Heart.

But Jesus himself actually tells us something very special about His heart:

He says, “I am meek and humble of heart.”

The Sacred Heart is a humble heart.

And so St. Paul tells us,

“Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God,

did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant….

He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death,… on a cross.”

It is in His divine humility that He was able to love the Father as a Son so much that

He could obey His Father even when He asked Him to

endure the pains of death.

And it was in His humility that He was able to condescend to endure that death

for us and for our sins against Him.


This last Friday, June 16, was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart,

         a feast that was established by Pope Pius IX in 1856,

responding to the request Our Lord made in an apparition

to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque.

In that apparition He showed St. Margaret Mary His heart and told her,

“Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing,

even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love;

and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude,

by their irreverence and sacrilege.”

The Devil hates the devotion to the Sacred Heart,

because it stands for everything he hates and everything he is not.

For above all things the devil hates God, and so he hates man

because God loves man, created in the divine image.

And because just as God is unfathomably humble

and so can have mercy on man even when he sins in the worst ways,

the devil is unfathomably prideful and so hates man

for the mercy God bestows on him.

Remember, it is the ancient teaching of the Church

that Lucifer was created to be a great magnificent angel.

But when he learned of God the Son’s intention to become man,

and that he, Lucifer, would have to serve this puny creature called man,

he allowed his “good pride” in God’s gifts to him

to slip into the “bad pride” of sin.

And in that pride, Lucifer said to God, “Non serviam”… “I will not serve!”

Jesus and His Sacred Heart are all about humility and love

toward His Father and man.

The Devil is all about pride and hatred for God and man.


We see this diabolic pride and hatred all through the LGBTQ movement.

But seldom is it so obviously reveled as it was last [Friday] night

         when the Los Angeles Dodgers, as part of their “Pride Month” celebrations,

honored the blasphemous and radically anti-Catholic LGBTQ group called

the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence”

On the very feast of the Sacred Heart.

As Jesus once said of the wicked pharisees and scribes:

“You serpents, you brood of vipers,

how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”


So what do we do, living in this culture imbued with and led by the sin of pride

—the sin that leads to so many other sins,

from greed, to envy, to perverted lust, to despair?

We imitate the humility and charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

and cooperate with the grace that flows out from It,

trying, as the prayer says, to allow Jesus “to make our heart like unto” His.

To be like a servant of God first, a servant to our neighbor next.  

To obey humbly His commandments,

and to sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed

for the will of God and the true good of others.

And we recognize our own sins and do penance and reparation for them.

And we also recognize the sins around us,

especially the sins that embrace pride

         –not falling into that sin ourselves by condemning others,

but by humbly trying to help our neighbors by standing for the truth,

even when it means sacrifice on our part.


One great gift we have to do all this is the gift that America also celebrates today

—thank God: the gift of our fathers.

Fathers, good fathers, can help lead us out of this mess.

Fathers who take on the heart of Jesus

and cooperate with the grace and charity that flow from His heart.

So many of the problems we have today in society

are because of fathers don’t always step up to the plate

to guide their children in the humility and charity of Jesus.

Fathers who allow their pride to lead them to be focused on themselves

and their selfish desires for money, or ambition, or self-gratification.

But thank God for the fathers who humbly place God and their families first,

and who aren’t afraid to defend their families from the culture of pride,

or to teach their children the humility and love of Jesus

that saves them from falling prey to lies of the prideful devil

and the culture he holds sway over.


And finally, we have the greatest of all gifts,

the source and summit of all charity and humility: the Eucharist.

Not only is It the re-presentation of Christ’s obedient and condescending

sacrifice of love on the Cross,

where his Sacred Heart was pierced for our sins,

but He brings Himself here under the humble veil of the appearance

of simple bread so he can fill us with his boundless mercy.

So that when Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary,         

He told her He was especially offended, He said,

“by the coldness and contempt they have for Me

in this Sacrament of Love,” meaning the Eucharist.

And so He specifically asked that the feast of His Heart be celebrated

on the Friday after Corpus Christi, asking us,

“to honor My Heart, by [receiving Communion] on that day,

and making reparation to It by a solemn act,

in order to make amends for the indignities which It has received ….”

Today, I encourage you, as you come to receive our Lord

         to show your humility before Him,

the humility that makes true love possible,

         and to make a solemn act of reparation for your sins

and the sins of our culture,

by humbly abasing yourself before His Presence

as you receive His precious Body.

In particular, I encourage you today to receive Our Lord

by humbly kneeling before Him, if you physically can,

and by receiving Him not on unconsecrated hands,

but humbly on the tongue.

Not because standing is bad or our hands are evil,

but because radical humility is essential

to participating in the humility and love of Jesus.


As we continue with this holy Mass,

and as its gracious fruits remain in us as we go back into the world,

         let us make this day, and the rest of the month of June,

and really the rest of our lives,

be a time truly filled with divine humility and charity.

Let us turn away from pride, and turn toward the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.