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Come Out of the World: A Fictional Sermon

“Here he goes again,” Frank thought, as Father Joseph quoted the day’s Gospel.

(Image: Elena Dijour/Shutterstock)

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

“Here he goes again,” Frank thought, as Father Joseph quoted the day’s Gospel. Frank knew it was good for his wife and kids to be here at Mass. He was there for them, but he began to realize it might be another one of those days when Father went on the warpath against the lukewarm — against guys like him.

“Does the world love you?” Father Joseph asked rhetorically. “Well, then you are probably doing something wrong!” It was confirmed. Today was one of those days. Maybe he should start reading the bulletin, Frank thought to himself.

“The world’s love or hatred is a litmus test for each one of us to know whether we are following in the footsteps of the Lord,” the priest continued. “‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.’ But, if the world loves you, then it must mean the opposite, that we are following the world over our Lord. How can we be a disciple if we don’t believe what Jesus taught? How can we follow him through the narrow gate if we focus only on what pleases us and don’t even try to repent?”

“This is exactly why people hate the Church,” Frank thought. “Where is the mercy here? Doesn’t Jesus love us and want what is good for us? I’m sick of priests telling us that we need to believe whatever they tell us and follow all their rules. I’m doing my part after all and write a check when he asks for it. That’s more than most people do. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t care about the world.” He felt indignation, but also some sweat.

It was almost as if Father was reading Frank’s thoughts. “You might say to yourself, ‘I’m doing well for myself in the world and so I can give part of my success back to God.’ That is all fine and good, but God doesn’t want a part of you. He wants all of you. He has called you out of the world so that you would be different from the worldly way of thinking and living. The world puts self first. My success. My desires. My own beliefs. I can think and live the way I want. People want mercy, but they want it without conversion. They want to keep living their worldly life and also receive all the promises of mercy.”

Frank began to fidget in his seat. He looked over at his wife. She seemed to be smirking to herself, probably thinking of him. They had an argument in the car on the way to Church. “Why is the Church so focused on things like abortion and sex?” he had complained. “Shouldn’t the Church be happy that Catholics have influence even at the top of our government, people who care about the poor, unlike most Christians. Aren’t even Cardinals telling us to move beyond petty issues of morality?”

She had smirked somewhat even then. She was one of those Catholics who read mystics. A fanatic, I guess you could say. She had even pulled out one of her well-worn, crumpled devotional books and read a line from St. Bridget: “All believe and preach that I am merciful, but almost no one preaches or believes me to be a righteous judge.”

Father continued, “Jesus came to save the world, but not to affirm it in its sin. Leaving people in sin doesn’t do any favors for them. The same is true for us. We can be worldly even in the Church. If we choose to stay in our sin and claim to be a Christian, we are lying to ourselves. We have broken our communion with Christ and need to come back to him in Confession. Come back to confession! Mercy doesn’t ignore sin. Mercy is justice, because it deals with sin by healing us and bringing justice into our souls. Only with this mercy can we live as Christians in the world.”

Confession again. Yes, that is what his wife had been nagging Frank about for weeks. That was one of Father Joseph’s favorite topics. “I am not a sinner,” Frank repeated to himself. “I try to be a good person. I don’t hurt others, at least not directly. Maybe my business practices could be a bit more transparent. Maybe I could be more faithful to my wife. But it’s not hurting anyone if I take some pressure off. It helps her too. The world isn’t as bad as this priest makes it out. The world has done more for me than the Church.”

As if in response, Father Joseph affirmed: “Come out of the world. You can’t have it both ways. Choose Christ or the world.”

Frank wondered how long he could keep up appearances, bringing his family here, fidgeting in his seat and remaining worldly. This priest wanted him to make a choice. He looked over at his wife again, and then at his kids. Maybe he did need to make some kind of choice.

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About Dr. R. Jared Staudt 57 Articles
R. Jared Staudt PhD, serves as Director of Content for Exodus 90 and as an instructor for the lay division of St. John Vianney Seminary. He is author of How the Eucharist Can Save Civilization (TAN), Restoring Humanity: Essays on the Evangelization of Culture (Divine Providence Press) and The Beer Option (Angelico Press), as well as editor of Renewing Catholic Schools: How to Regain a Catholic Vision in a Secular Age (Catholic Education Press). He and his wife Anne have six children and he is a Benedictine oblate.


  1. Sometimes I wonder about the love hate relationship with the world. How many of us are shunned because of our own ineptitude, lack of responsibility? When we’re loved is it our accommodation or our honesty that draws them? For a priest this latter has meaning.
    Fr Staudt [an imaginary example] would do well following his own structure for an effective sermon. A good template for all us priests. Example, St Bridget’s God is also a righteous judge is barely mentioned these days. We’ve moved past fire and brimstone, more sophisticated. Much more merciful, serene, though unmercifully endlessly so. Finally ending with the everlasting assurance that God loves you. Does he? [a deacon friend who insists God’s love is unconditional may have left out the righteous judgment part of the equation]. That begs whether we may have a love hate relationship with God.

  2. “Jesus Loves Us! We must all be like Jesus!” people tell me. Then I quote from the 44 times Jesus tells us who He is going to burn hell. Then they switch to, “Well, Jesus is God and He can do that kind of stuff.” Well isn’t Jesus, even when He is Judging people into hell, still infinitely more Loving than us? We should simply love our neighbor, as Jesus loves our neighbor, by repeating Christ’s teachings of Heaven and Hell, to our neighbor. When summed up, Jesus loves us by preaching, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is At Hand!”. To not teach both Heaven and Hell and the need for repentance, is to hate your neighbor.

    Satan’s most infamous line is to tell people that God will never let you die and go to hell.

    Genesis 3:2
    The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’” But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!”

    John 5:27
    “The Father has given over to him power to pass judgment because he is Son of Man; no need for you to be surprised at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to live; the evildoers shall rise to be damned.”

    Matthew 13:36
    “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

    Divine Mercy in My Soul, 965
    Jesus looked at me and said, Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.

    Revelation 2:22
    “I mean to cast her down on a bed of pain; her companions in sin I will plunge into intense suffering unless they repent of their sins with her, and her children I will put to death. Thus shall all the churches come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds, and that I will give each of you what your conduct deserves.”

  3. I believe we are both saint and sinner when it comes to loving the Lord and loving the world(sinning) I daily sin much in my thoughts, words, and deed. I daily need to confess: “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner” Thanks be to God, that He is our forgiving and loving Father, waiting for us prodigal sons and daughters to return to Him, in repentance. Rejoicing that we are saints baptized into His Son, wearing His robes of righteousness.

  4. The world loves the Catholic church……..look at the only denomination the liberal media covers at Christmas and Easter, and hasn’t said 1 bad syllable towards Catholic Biden and Catholic Pelosi, who have helped tremendously towards the moral fall of America. They have been praised by the media and Planned Parenthood and the pope.

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