daily biblical sermons

The Scriptures are the ordinary infallible guide by which we know how God wants us to live
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Monday, 27th Week of the Year, October 05, 2020
Galatians 1:6-12, Psalm 110, Luke 10:25-37

Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? How do you read?’ And he answered, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered right; do this, and you will live.’ But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper saying, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.” Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed mercy on him.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:25-37).



This reading is one of the most important revelations in the Bible, for it teaches us how God wants us to live in order to gain eternal life. A lawyer asks Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). Instead of answering him, Jesus throws the question back to the lawyer, saying, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” (Luke 10:26). The lawyer answers by quoting the law (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).



This lawyer had the Old Testament Scriptures at his fingertips and in his mind and was able to turn to them with confidence and give the correct answer. And Jesus approved, saying, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live” (Luke 10:28).



This Scripture is of the greatest importance to us today, for it shows us where to get trustworthy infallible information about how God wants us to live concerning the moral questions that people are asking today. It shows us that we are to find the answers to today’s moral questions in the Scriptures. The lawyer only had the Old Testament Scriptures to work with, and yet he got the right answer to one of the most important questions of human life. We also have the same Old Testament Scriptures in addition to the New Testament Scriptures, which should be our infallible guide in our daily life to know what is right and what is wrong.



This is especially critical in our own day when the mainstream media, the major universities of this country, the Hollywood celebrities, and the Democratic Party are all united in a great coalition to give us fundamentally wrong answers to the most basic questions of how we should live. In a case like this, where do we go for infallible guidance and truth? The answer is the Scriptures. The Scriptures directly contradict the message that we are being given today by this great coalition of the mainstream media, the major universities, the Hollywood celebrities, and the Democratic Party concerning the fundamental moral issues that are being discussed today, namely abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexual sexual acts, transgenderism, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.



This coalition approves of all of these above-mentioned moral issues. Since the Scriptures directly contradict the teaching of this new coalition, a Christian must oppose this coalition’s teaching. It is the Scriptures, which are the word of God and divine revelation itself, that reveal to us God’s answer to today’s moral questions, and so the Scriptures are the basis of our rejection of the answers that the dominant culture is giving us today on these fundamental issues.



Just as the Scriptures provided this lawyer with the resources to answer Jesus’ question about how to gain eternal life, so today the Scriptures are the ordinary infallible guide to believers that reveal to us how God wants us to live. The Scriptures, for example, clearly teach us that to have sex with people of our same gender is a grave sin and an abomination before God (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).



The Scriptures infallibly teach us also that God does not want us to murder our children in the womb or as they are being born (Exodus 20:13 KJV “Thou shalt not kill”). They also teach us that God does not want us to think that we can change our gender and pretend to be a woman if we are man, or a man if we are a woman, for God himself created us male and female, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). God has created us in this fundamentally differentiated way, either male or female, and this must be respected, and it is gravely sinful to try to deny your God-given gender and pretend to be the opposite of what God created you.



It is also obvious from the Scriptures, namely the Ten Commandments, that God does not want us to take innocent life (Exodus 20:13) and that he wants us to respect our parents (Exodus 20:12). Therefore, we clearly know from the Scriptures that God does not want us to murder our parents (euthanasia), when they are elderly and a burden to us or to kill ourselves when we become elderly and a burden to ourselves (assisted suicide). The Scriptures reveal to us that human life was created by God and is sacred and we may not take innocent human life, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13 KJV).



This does not, however, rule out the death penalty, which both the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church have always approved of for heinous crimes against humanity. The Old Testament points out many crimes that are to be punished by the death penalty.



We also have the living magisterium of the Church, namely the official teaching of the Roman Pontiff (the Pope) to guide us in the moral and doctrinal issues of the day. When the Pope makes an infallible statement either by himself or with the bishops of the Church, this should be accepted as an infallible guide to how God wants us to live and believe. The problem, though, is that infallible statements are extremely rare, and most papal statements are not intended to be infallible.



This means that they are fallible statements that may contain both doctrinal and moral errors. How do we determine whether or not a papal proclamation contains moral or doctrinal error? We do so by checking it against divine revelation itself in the Scriptures. If a fallible papal declaration contradicts the teaching of Scripture, it is in error and should not be followed; and those who are capable of refuting it should do so for the good of the Church lest people be misled by it to live gravely sinful lives which will jeopardize their eternal salvation.



Unfortunately, in our own day this has become a major problem, for some of the highest leaders in the Catholic Church today are contradicting divine revelation in the Scriptures and are teaching the opposite. This has become a major issue in the Catholic Church these past four years concerning divorce from a valid marriage and remarriage, in which some of our highest Church leaders are now saying that in some cases those who divorce from a valid marriage and live in an active sexual relationship with a new partner may receive the Eucharist, even though St. Paul says that those that are unworthy to receive the Eucharist may not receive it. And those who are living in a constant state of objective mortal sin by living in an active sexual relationship with a partner who is not their valid spouse are not worthy to receive the Eucharist.



The Scriptures clearly teach us that marriage is indissoluble and divorce from a valid marriage and remarriage and living in an active sexual relationship with the new partner is the grave sin of adultery (Mark 10:11-12), which prohibits one from receiving the Eucharist, as St. Paul says, for “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).



So what solid basis do we have to know how God wants us to live in terms of the major moral issues that are being discussed today? The answer is the Scriptures and the infallible teachings of the Roman Pontiffs. But short of infallible statements of the Pope, which are quite rare, our primary daily infallible guide is Scripture and previous Tradition of what the Church has always believed and taught on any particular issue.



If a Pope should make statements that contradict Scripture and Tradition on fundamental moral issues, then what should we base ourselves on? The answer again is the same. We base ourselves on Scripture, which is divine revelation. The Pope does not have the authority to create new revelation. That is the function of the Scriptures. The authority of the magisterium (teaching) of the Church and of the Pope is to apply the teaching of Scripture to modern problems and expound and preach it, not contradict it or teach the opposite.



If a Pope contradicts or teach the opposite of Scripture and previous established Tradition on a particular moral or doctrinal issue, what do we follow? We follow divine revelation in the Scriptures.



The Second Vatican Council has reminded us that the Church is not above the Scriptures, but serves them, “This teaching office [of the Church] is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed” (Dei Verbum 10).



What today’s gospel actually says is that we are to live our lives focused on God in love with our whole being, our whole heart and soul, mind and strength, and we are to serve and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus then gives the striking example of the good Samaritan to show us what love of neighbor means, namely it does not just mean the person who lives next door or near us or is our friend or countryman, but any human being in real need that we are able to help. For example, a Jew is beaten and robbed and left half dead on the road, and a Samaritan, a member of a people that hate the Jews, and that the Jews hate, is the only one that stops to take care of this poor wounded Jew. Jesus says, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).


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