We learned in last week’s leaflet that Jesus instituted a Church with authority (Mat 18:15-18). Now are we free to ignore this Church, preferring our own particular ideas, our own preferences? In a strict sense we are free to do as we wish BUT for those of us who are Christians, we are most free when we follow God.
As Christians we are to follow God as Jesus taught us. We put our trust in His message and teachings. As a famous 20th century philosopher once said: “To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
Jesus advised us to listen to His Church when He told us to bring our disagreements to it in Mat 18. Specifically, He told the apostles to tell it to the Church and if they will not listen to the Church then we are to treat them as though they are lost. Jesus said: “tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
And so we see that Jesus’ advice in determining the truth is to go to His Church. On matters of faith and morals we also know that whatever the Church proclaims to be true is infallibly known to be true since Jesus said that whatever the Church binds on earth will be bound in heaven. Since nothing untrue can be bound in heaven means that whatever the Church binds on earth must also be true.
Now, if you are aware of a Church teaching defined as true and binding but reject it anyway then you are freely going against the advice of Jesus as well as rejecting the authority of His Church. If all these conditions are met, that is first, that you are aware of the binding authority of His Church and secondly freely reject it, which is a very grave matter, then you are rejecting the rightful authority given to His Church by God Himself. You are perpetrating a mortal sin.
Are you aware that the Church Jesus founded teaches in the necessity of keeping the Sabbath day Holy by going to Mass on Sunday? If you are aware of this and freely neglect to go without good reason then you are committing a mortal sin.
Are you aware that the Church Jesus founded teaches on the grave matter of artificial contraception usage to be against the moral law? If you are aware of this teaching of the Church and yet freely use artificial contraception anyway then you are committing a mortal sin.
Are you aware that the Church Jesus founded teaches that human life is sacred and to be protected? If you were aware of this and also aware of the extreme abortion views of one political candidate while the only other candidate opposing him clearly had a better life-affirming stand but voted for the one with the extreme abortion proponent anyway then you committed a mortal sin.
Please, examine your conscience before receiving our Lord in the Eucharist. Are you guilty of mortal sin? If you are then I urge you to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist since you would be “guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:27)