Appleton, WI

Mar 14 Homily Connect: Lust

Fourth Sunday of Lent-March 14, 2021


Lust-Charity and Chastity
Scripture John 3:14-21

Reflection Launch: Poem The Pulley by George Herbert

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” he said, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.”
So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.
“For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.”
“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.”

Creation Story

  • Not good for man to be alone – God created male and female
  • Eros came into existence
  • Eros is a Greek word for sexual love between a husband and wife
  • Our English words of eroticism and erotic come from this word
  • Probably originating from a young St. Augustine who was sexually active outside of
    marriage – we tag eros as unholy, unclean or dirty
  • Not the teaching of our Church

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – Letter “God is Love”

  • Eros possesses “true grandeur”
  • Relationship between eros and the Divine: love promises infinity, eternity
  • Erotic love: A reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence

Back to the Poem

  • God showered all kinds of precious gifts upon human beings
  • Strength, beauty, wisdom, honor and pleasure
  • Notice! Sexual pleasure is a gift from the Lord

Poem: What Gift Did God Hold Back On?

  • Rest – Our restlessness would throw us into God’s arms
  • St. Augustine: Human beings are restless until they rest in God
  • Our restlessness are our longings and desires
  • We have admirable desires and not so admirable desires
  • Whatever our desires, even lust, deep down have the purpose of drawing us into the search for something deeper

My Prayer

Jesus draw all my desires together and make them a single desire for you alone.

Not a Single Person

  • Who is not familiar with the “swirling cauldron of lust” (St. Augustine)
  • Jesus was not a stranger to lust
  • Jesus struggled with every temptation we struggled with

The Israelites

  • Accused again and again of infidelity
  • Ezekiel compares his people to a harlot or prostitute
  • Images of inappropriate sexual behavior between men and women
  • Israelites replaced their fidelity to the Lord with other things
  • Lust can do this – It can become a powerful idol


  • Comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness
  • The vice of lust seems to flourish in the darkness – a hidden sin
  • Addiction to internet pornography runs wild in our country
  • Underneath the addiction is loneliness and selfishness
  • Vice of lust needs to be brought out into the open
  • Into God’s purifying light of unconditional love
  • Keeping it locked up in the dark only gives it more power

Jesus Suggests

Some people “prefer darkness to light…For everyone who does wicked things hates the light….But whoever lives the truth comes to the light.”

Lust Is

  • All about desire and longing
  • We neutralize lust as we draw closer to the Lord who is our only Desire

The Lust Antidotes: Chasity and Charity

  • Both have roots in the word cherish
  • We beg the Lord for grace to cherish every person – to reverence sacred preciousness
  • With this we can free ourselves from lust

Healthy Balance – Reigning in our Lustful Temptations

  • Reaching out-spending time with family and friends
  • Getting adequate rest, eating healthily, exercising
  • Daily prayer – Jesus, set me free. Be my shield. Give me strength

Pray For

  • Those women and men caught up in the production of porn
  • The camera people, directors, producers and distributors
  • See them as having dignity in the eyes of their loving Lord
  • Pray for them

The more we cherish and the more we reverence one another the more chaste we become!

Questions for Reflection

  • What impacted you from today’s Readings and/or homily?
  • In your upbringing, how were you taught about eros? How do you understand it today?
  • How do you understand one of your vices in relationship to restlessness?
  • Are there instances where you might have preferred darkness to light?
  • What healthy habits keep you in the light?
  • How easy or difficult is it for you to make Lord your one Desire?

Live Connected

This Lent, make an examination of conscience looking for those areas where you might prefer to stand in the dark and also for all the positive ways you work to make the Lord your one Desire