A narration from the recording of Fr. Joe' Sermon on 7th September 2014.
Beloved brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ. When the first murder took place, in the history of the Judea Christian records. When a brother killed a brother. And the voice of conscience boomed, and said “ What Have you done”. Cain shouted out and said “ Am I my brothers keeper”. And ever since than humanity is always looked upon as non- caring of one’s own loved ones as the greatest sin. And today the scripture very clearly declares, the principle of someone you see that person doing something wrong, and you can go and influence him, and yet you don’t. The scripture of the first reading tells us, well because of he going into this wrong doing he will face death, but you too because you had an opportunity to help him turn away and you did not do that. My dear friends today, Jesus says there is a methodology of doing this. First respect the persons individual rights, and confront him directly. Keep his so called anonymity and talk to him as a person to person. And then if his pride is too much and he doesn’t listen, than get two or three together and try to convince him, if that also does not work go the church the assembling and there if he really does not recognize his fault than let him be abandoned. And the first reading says, having done this he will die but you will save your life. What’s all this? This is behind the entire program, of the Alcoholics Anonymous. Strange but you know the founding Fathers had some extraordinary priests- Frank Bauckman, the Episcopalian pastor. John Schumacher also the Anglican, and our own Jesuit priest Ted Dowling. Ted Dowling was the first Jesuits priest to embrace recovering alcoholics. Keep them in his basement as we do – the rehab centres. That was the first attempt and that’s how they shared their tales of woe together and helped one another to be alright. This is the principal of recovery. If somebody feels, that he is all knowing, and specially when it comes to alcoholism, that he can manage that he has studied a lot, that he has read a lot of books, that he know a lot of philosophy and theology and therefore he can handle this by himself..He’s a lost soul. Satan, strives on that kind of pride, and therefore today, we ask the Lord that we in kripa that more and more people may get this humility, because if you don’t get this humility, you go into the 40% for those who never get alright. Thank God for that its only 40% here. The World Health Organization says 98.5 % never make it to recovery. So that is how are recovery rate is so high. That’s why we have in our midst, just a couple of days ago someone coming all the way from California. The world today, is not believing, that there is a freedom from this satanic grip of alcohol. And the one who gave us this formula was none other than the leading Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. He described this statement of Jesus in the Gospel “Where two or three are gathered in my name. I am there.” That is what Carl Gustav Jung gave a scientific name for it. You know what he called that? He called it “collective consciousness.” ….“collective consciousness.” And that is why in the AA room when all sit together and share, what happens? There is where God really is, because these are a bunch of people who are with humility walking into that classroom and saying … “ I am an Alcoholic. I cannot do this by myself. I need the help of another, and that help of another does not come from that individual other but from the collective other. And that is what today’s Gospel is saying. What a beautiful methodology but one kind of person will never get this, a person who thinks he knows it all. A person who is arrogant. He is denying that he has got this disease and even when he knows he is fully victim of it, he still says “ All you people are wrong. I will show you that I can stay clean.” And that’s called a defiant person. And God resist the proud and raises the lowly. Everyday…Everyday as much as I get news of beautiful recoveries, everyday I get news of people dying. Dying of alcoholism, dying of denial of this disease. So let’s really pray that God may give us more and more people the Grace to tell the truth, about themselves. It is only when you know that ... Then you Love. The commandment of Jesus is very clear. You should owe nobody anything except love, keep loving, what it is ?…Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you don’t love yourself, if you don’t tell the truth about yourself, you can’t love somebody else, and that is why what happens these arrogant alcoholics who don’t recover, what happens to them ? . They die in their loneliness, because such kind of a person lives in a population in a world of just one …himself. And then like Arthur Hemmingway he writes a final note “A man alone in this world has no chance to exist.” He took up the gun and shot himself. A great author… loneliness kills. Robin Williams the great man who made all of us laugh. A great Hollywood actor, did you’ll know he was suffering of alcoholism? How many times he went to rehab centres, he went into depression, and finally depression is the death of the mind. And therefore, finally people, 20% of alcoholics get the desire to die, and 2% of alcoholics actually kill themselves. This is a disease of Necrophilia. Necrosis is death, and therefore Necrophilia is love for to die. “Just leave me alone, let me die”. And that is why when people sometimes want to leave and go… I tell them …” You want to walk into death”. Jesus said to St. Peter “There will be a day, when they will tie, a rope round you, and lead you to a place where you will never want to go”. And the Psalm today says: If today you will listen to His voice, Harden not your hearts… If today you will listen to His voice harden not your hearts.” May God grant us the Grace, to end our egoistic life and that is what yoga and meditation in the morning does. Helps us to bypass the Ego, and acknowledge the “ANTARYAMIN”-the inner controller, the indwelling spirit of the risen Jesus. And that is why I pray to these great souls Blessed Mother Teresa, whose anniversary was celebrated on the 5th this Monday , 3 hours before my birthday she passed away. International clocks sometimes put her death on the 6th. She and Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar who also passed away us this unique way of connecting with God, so that filled with that love, because I know whom I am than I know who God is than I can give that love which I experience and how by the 12 steps. What is the 12 step?. Having had a spiritual awakening, I take this message to other suffering alcoholics. That’s the message, and try to fit in all our other affairs of life. But if you don’t do that, you never can maintain your sobriety. Please understand that, that the principal of getting well is only sharing what God has given you as a gift to other suffering alcoholics. And here is well I put a special request to all of you, to wake up. There are very few Alcoholics Anonymous groups in Vasai. Please, whoever you have known, as getting well from here or just directly through the AA? please help them to start AA groups in all your parishes. Why in Bombay we have about 300 groups namely in parishes? and here in Vasai hardly 3 or 4 groups? Because, we are living in a denial society. We deny that Alcoholism is a disease, we deny this, and God will never bless a denying society. And we will come here, and praise God in our churches and make big noise and never get in touch with our Antaryamin, because there is too much noise in my life. And there is no way that I can bypass my Ego, except by that humility in telling the truth about myself. Only than that Truth will set us free. May God grant us the Grace to wake up to this powerful message that Jesus has given us in today’s Gospel, and the whole liturgy speaks that we are our brothers’ keepers. We are responsible one and another and specially that satan using this horrible weapon of alcoholism and drug abuse all the more must wake up and help one another walk hand in hand. Amen.
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