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Bp. Joseph Strickland interviews on EWTN, November 16, 2023YouTube/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — On this week’s two-part episode of The Bishop Strickland Show, Bishop Joseph Strickland discusses sin, growth in holiness, Freemasonry, and why people should not patronize concerts whose proceeds help fund abortion.

Strickland begins the first part of the episode offering commentary on John 5:1-16, in which Our Lord heals a paralytic on the Sabbath and warns him to avoid sin, lest a worse thing befall him. Strickland notes that the Gospel puts forward one of the chief complaints of the Pharisees against Our Lord: respect for the Sabbath.

Noting that Our Lord said elsewhere that the Sabbath was made for man, Strickland says we must always reflect on respecting the Sabbath, looking for Christ’s point in healing on the Sabbath. Adding that we must “keep our priorities straight” regarding the purpose of the Church’s laws, he notes that Christ came not to change the law but fulfill it.

“Fulfilling the law of the Sabbath is to remind people what those laws are about – to draw them closer to God, to make them realize that they’re not just journeying through this life without a connection with God,” he says.

Strickland also speaks to the warning Our Lord gives the healed man, maintaining that people should pay attention to a connection between the man’s disease and sin. It is not that his sins caused him to become paralyzed, but that he is living in a sinful world. Thus, Strickland maintains, we need to reflect on the connection between sin and suffering.

“When we sin and ignore the truth that God has revealed to us,” he states, “then there are consequences,” which are not always directly connected with our sins, but they are there nonetheless. He also observes that Christ contradicts the message heard often today that there are “certain categories of sin” which no longer matter.

Strickland asserts we must always turn from sin, and that the purpose of Lent is to do this and to live the virtues of the Gospel. In this fight against sin, however, we remain sinners and vulnerable to the temptation to commit the same sins, or even new ones. Hopefully, he maintains, we begin to look more closely at our examinations of conscience, and if we made progress as we age and make progress in certain areas, we can eliminate certain sins entirely, even though there will always be some sin to deal with.

Hence, the call of Our Lord in the Gospel is that we must do our best to fight sin, since ignoring our sins makes us vulnerable to “making something worse happen.” Strickland lastly notes that the man is healed, reminding us “our journey is never hopeless.”

“When we follow Christ, there’s always hope and light, that may not answer our prayers the way we want, but we need to be people of hope,” he says.

Strickland also addresses the episcopal response to abortion news, as well as the comments of Msgr. Charles Pope on Freemasonry.

Strickland offers thanks to the bishops of Arizona and France for their stances against abortion, those in Arizona for calling on people to oppose an attempt to enshrine abortion in their state constitution, and for those in France for opposing the recent vote of the National Assembly and Senate that “enshrined” abortion in the constitution. As a solution to these crises, Strickland suggests that people pray bad legislation and court decisions be reversed “as people wake up and recognize that this isn’t the way we want our nations or our world to go.”

Speaking to Pope’s statement on the dialogue between the Church and Freemasonry, warning that Freemasonry is a doorway to the demonic and joining it a grave sin, Strickland says that we need to be “strong on that message.” Freemasonry, Strickland says, is “antithetical” to Christ and the Church He founded, and “to pretend that they can be somehow aligned is giving in to evil.”

Referencing the Gospel from earlier, Strickland says “if we just embrace sin, it has its consequences, and if we embrace evil, it has its consequences.” If agreement among men costs men the truth, then we send humanity to destruction.

The second part of the episode begins with a continuation of the Gospel from the first, with Strickland commenting on John 5:17-30Christ’s dealings with the Jews after healing on the Sabbath, in which He says that He is the Son of God, and that whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. For Strickland, Christ claiming to be the Judge of man is a “reminder of the abundant mercy of God.” He also says that this Gospel should be read in light of John 3:16 and the Last Supper Discourse in John, whereby Christ speaks of God’s love for men and His love with the Father.

Strickland also notes that the One who judges us, Jesus Christ, is fully man as well as fully God. Christ, Strickland observes, drank water and ate food, like us in all things but sin. “That’s a wondrous element of the love of the Father,” says Strickland.

“God could have done it a different way. He’s God,” he continues. “He could have just judged us outright, but He chose to send us His Son, a Son who walked with us the journey of being a Creature in this world, being a human being, but showing us what we can do when we are like Him in all things but sin.”

Strickland further states that while there are some who hope that many will be saved, the data of revelation points more to only a few being saved, noting Christ said that many are called but few chosen. He laments that if the Last Judgment were to be held in our day, many would be found as not close to God and His commandments.

Strickland also discusses his comments made to LifeSiteNews about boycotting concerts whose proceeds go to fund abortion.

He says that he was asked for a comment, and he gave it, adding that if even a penny of a ticket sale is going to support abortion, people must say no. While the world is complicated, Strickland admits, and that we are not called to live on islands (where we will still find sin anyway), he connects the idea with the Gospel that began this part and says a judgment must be made. While some would say “judge not lest ye be judged,” a scriptural principle, Strickland answers that the prohibition does not mean that we cannot make judgments on the question at hand when it is posed to us.

“To support [something like this] intentionally really becomes a question of sin, because you’re intending to do something, and it comes down to directly supporting abortion by helping to fund it,” Strickland asserts.

“We can’t do that in any circumstance,” he continues. “I think it’s that kind of thinking through things logically we need to help people learn to do better because that hasn’t been much of a focus in our lifetime.”

Strickland observes that in our time, the focus has been on how we feel about things. While something may indeed make us feel good, we are still obligated to think about the issue rationally. He also says that the artist in question would see the connection between a loss in ticket sales and this decision, though in our fallen world, the abortion advocacy will likely be “good marketing,” as people would buy tickets just to support abortion.

“It’s all the more reason all of us who know that abortion is the taking of the life of an unborn human being, it’s murder, then we need to do everything we can to raise our voices and use our pocketbooks to say [that] this artist isn’t going to get any support from me,” he says.

Strickland closes the show by offering comments on how a doctor admitted that cross-sex hormones for gender patients can cause cancer. Strickland discusses the natural order that God made and that man does not cooperate with the natural order through sin. When this happens, he says, there are consequences.

“Ultimately, there’s going to be a rebellion by nature to the things that we do that are contrary to nature,” he says. Strickland also treats of how man must be a steward of nature – something that is brought up in the book of Genesis.

To watch all previous episodes of The Bishop Strickland Showclick here to visit LifeSite’s Rumble page dedicated to The Bishop Strickland Show.