It’s time to stop, to cease and desist.
It’s time to get rid of a bad habit many of us have…..once and for all.
Even though we may have decided for ourselves its harmless and unimportant, it isn’t.
It is harmful and it is very important.
I’m speaking here of the use of foul language, cussing, using expletives, swearwords,
obscenities, using profanity.
It’s out of control. Drastic times require drastic measures.
And I have the remedy right here:
a bar of Fels-Naptha, a bar of laundry soap.
...Probably brings back memories for some of you….unpleasant memories. It does for me.
When I was a child, even as a budding teenager, if my mother heard something come out of my mouth that was on her “not to be spoken list”
I was summarily ushered to the basement laundry tub.
There the bar of laundry soap was placed in my mouth.
Mother wasn’t cruel with this punishment.
The bar wasn’t swished around until there were suds or anything like that.
The word “open” was given.
The bar was placed just past the front teeth.
When the bar was removed it was held against the front teeth
to make sure some of the soap was scraped off and left behind.
We were left to do what we could to extract the bits of soap
so as to cause as little damage as possible.
The worst, was touching the soap with my tongue.
Believe me, one time was enough to teach the lesson.
It was purely by accident or in great anger that I ever cussed in mom’s presence again.
I couldn’t understand it then. But now I can.
Mom’s punishment and the lesson learned was about appropriate socialization.
It was vulgar to use such language.
It offended others and it would reflect poorly on her and my father, on their parenting.
It would reflect poorly on the family.
On another level, the use of profanity violated the sacredness of my humanity.
There is a certain God-given holiness to life.
We were a Catholic family and God’s presence within us needed to be honored, respected.
Either you respected this inner holiness and were seen accordingly;
or you desecrated this with language and behavior that showed the world
that you were a heathen, an unbeliever.
It’s time for us to reclaim and honor what is sacred in our lives and in the world.
It is all but lost.
No one seems to care anymore.
The world would have us eat dirt and then convince us it tastes like candy.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
as a way of acknowledging and celebrating God’s sacred and holy presence.
This presence is revealed to us in and through Jesus Christ.
Today’s feast calls for a “spoiler alert”.
We are given a glimpse of the end of the story of life…or at least one possible end.
If you would rather wait until that time to know what the ending is going to be,
they you may want to exit the church at this time.
God’s eternal glory is seen by human eyes.
Peter, James and John fall prostrate.
They hide their faces in the dirt of the earth.
They were filled with trembling.
This is the only fitting human response to the greatness of God.
We build churches and shrines,
we establish holy places in our communities and homes
because we want God to dwell among us.
Every church is a mountaintop.
It is here that God reveals his glory, his majesty, his dominion.
God’s holiness, his perfection of being which transcends everything worldly and creaturely,
demands the holiness of His people
as a condition for communion with Him.
If you are not holy, then true communion with God is not possible.
At the beginning of Mass we purify ourselves: we confess our sin so as to be forgiven
and made ready for an encounter with God.
It is also a time for us to reclaim a holy awe for God…
to do as Peter, James and John did:
bow down and put our faces to the ground
for we stand before the judgment of God.
Tremble before him because we feel we will perish…
that his infinite power and divine mystery will consume and destroy us.
As we cross the threshold and enter this church,
this place where God dwells among His people,
we dare to step on holy ground.
This church has been dedicated as a sacred place.
It now exclusively belongs to God.
Things not worthy of God should not be found here, or brought here, or said here, or done here.
I like to think of this church as a bridge from temporary holiness to eternal holiness:
from imperfection to perfection, from secular to sacred, from finite to infinite.
Our worship and prayer here takes up the holy name of God.
It is here we invoke God’s holy name.
This is where the restriction against cussing comes into play.
To take the name of the Lord in vain is to desecrate and defile God’s name.
It is unholy to desecrate or defile the name of God.
That which is not holy is not worthy of God.
And all that is not worthy of God will pass away.
We become holy by relating ourselves to holy places and holy times.
I don’t mean this as a curse but as a way to get rid of a the bad habit of cussing.
Every time you utter a profanity, an obscenity, a ‘wordy dird’
may you taste the bitterness of spiritual laundry soap
and be reminded that you are not a heathen or a pagan.
You are a child of God.
And sometimes children need to learn
that certain words, certain behavior is unworthy of the sacredness of their humanity
and of their calling to be and remain holy in the eyes of God.
Today’s prayer: “O Most Holy Lord, whose dominion, glory and kingship are everlasting, You claim us as Your own. We are marked with the sign of divine sacredness. Restore us today to holiness. Remind us every day that we are worthy of You and that we are destined to share in Your divine sacredness for all eternity. Amen!”
Transfiguration of the Lord
It’s time to stop, to cease and desist.