Gospel Thoughts 12 December 2010

December 8, 2010 at 16:53 Leave a comment


In today’s Gospel Story (Matthew 11:2-11) John’s followers ask Jesus if he is the one who is to come. Jesus tells them to report to John what they have seen, and to draw their own conclusions. Remarkable things were happening then. In our own day as so many of us question much of what is going on in the Church, Jesus might say the same thing to us, look at the remarkable  things  going on around us and draw our own conclusions.

There is a lot of turmoil in the Church. Traditional practices, customs, and attitudes of/towards authority are being questioned as never before, and it seems now is open season on everything and everyone in the Church. Many tragedies in Church practice are coming to light and the frustration level is rising. More and more good people are becoming involved in the various discussions, raising new ideas from their own perspectives. New movements focused on various facets of Church life are arising, and are not always welcomed by church leadership or interest groups. All this is seen variously as threatening or exciting. What is very disturbing, however, is the anger and vitriol directed at whomever might not agree with someone’s position on everything.

If, however, we believe that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, it would seem all this is an occasion for real and joyful excitement. If we believe that each of us is created in the image and likeness of God, the excitement grows. It would seem that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and moving each of us to an important role in it. Several years back a theologian speaking at a workshop for pastors said: “We say that the Church has Christ’s mission; perhaps we are confusing the subject and predicate; it may be more accurate to say that Christ’s mission has a church – now, but what it will have in the future might be something we do not recognize now, but it will still be Christ’s mission, and each of us will have an important part”. Perhaps this is what is going on now. This is an exciting time to be a Catholic, but it is also a dangerous time. New ideas are often suspect, perhaps even threatening. Discussion of several topics is forbidden, also by threats. Participation in many of the current “church reform” movements is discouraged through threats and public attacks and our own forms of religious guerilla warfare and religious police. If they are of the Spirit, these movements cannot be stamped out by our own forms of counterinsurgency operations. Each of us is where we need to be. Grace is real and surrounds us constantly.

Honest and open dialogue holds more promise for healthy growth than do threats and attacks. Perhaps now is a time for honest and open dialogue informed through faith and prayer, and an awareness that none of us has the complete and total answer to the myriad of questions being raised. All of us are good people trying to make the best of life as we see it, and continually being created by a God who loves us. We might beg the gift of coming to know this goodness in each other.

We believe Christ is among and within us, and that he loves each one of us more than we can love ourselves. He even loves those who do not think the way we do. This means that he is involved in the current commotion and growth process going on in the Church. In Advent we look forward to his coming, trying to prepare ourselves as best we can. In the Opening Prayer we express our belief that he is “ever close to your Church”, and ask him to “prepare our hearts and remove the sadness that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope that is presence will bestow”. He is here among us these days in the suffering and confusion, the fear and uncertainty, that seem to be increasing daily.

Nothing is sacred, yet everything is sacred. We are all sacred. Our faith tells us that the One who is to come is come. What now . . . .

 

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Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

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