Gospel Thoughts 12 August 2012

August 10, 2012 at 14:42 1 comment

In today’s Gospel Story (John 6:41-51) the people have Jesus all figured out. They know where he is from, his family, and, therefore, they cannot learn anything from him. Because they think they know everything there is to know about Jesus they cannot be surprised. Although he tried hard to teach them some real important truth, they refused to listen.

It might be that something similar is happening today. We have Jesus all figured out. Thanks to the system and its “leadership”, we know the right words to use when we talk about him. We think we know what he taught back then, since the system and its “leadership” have codified it and made it into definitions and dogmas with questions and answers. The system has given us rules about who can say what about Jesus and who can’t say anything. Only the ones at the top of the system can tell us anything about Jesus. “Leadership” has rules about what to do with people who speak out on their own, and some of these rules are pretty nasty, and even appear to contradict many of Jesus’ teachings. Since, thanks to the system, we know all there is to know we cannot be surprised, and since the system gives its people all the answers, there is no need for dialogue

In his own day Jesus seemed to be kind of a maverick, an upstart, a prophet. The system “took care of him”. In our day there are also mavericks, upstarts, and prophets among us, and the system is trying hard to “take care of” them, too. These folks do not use approved words and definitions, or accept priorities imposed on them by “leadership”. Deviation from the norm was not tolerated in Jesus’ time, and it is not tolerated now. There is no room for Jesus to share his teachings among us. The system and its followers “take care of” any who try. In practical terms, apart from lip-service, the Gospel does not seem to apply to the system, although the system claims to be acting in Jesus’ name and following his teachings. Thus, no need for dialogue, at least as dialogue is commonly understood.

The system and its “leadership” have their own way to understand dialogue. As was clearly stated publicly by one of the troika of bishops assigned to oversee the LCWR, dialogue means the bishops speak doctrine and everybody else acquiesces. There is neither need of, nor room for, intelligent thought. He really believes that, and it seems quite a few in “leadership” do, too, not to mention the followers of “leadership”. Is there any hope?

For folks who are open to possibility, it seems clear that Jesus is again being a maverick, upstart, and prophet, because he is raising up any number of folks to fulfill these roles in his name. They are being treated just as he was. These folks today have a great love for the church, even as Jesus had a great love for his Father’s House. He tried to correct what he saw as abuses in his Father’s House, even as folks are trying to do today.

In our own diocese there is an example of this in a community that was shut down by authority. The folks felt a call to continue their community life and moved to a new location to continue worshipping and serving together. They were, and still are, known for their outreach ministries, a reflection and outflowing of their prayer and worship. Authority threatened them and their pastor with dire consequences unless they knuckled under. They have not done so, and nothing has happened. Their journey has not been an easy one. Their discernment is ongoing, and, in all probability, their journey will not be easy. Who is to say that Jesus is not speaking and teaching the rest of us through them. To many it is clear that he is.

There are many folks among us these days who speak with real wisdom and true compassion, not to mention a lot of courage. This is not something we learn from a book. It comes only from the time we spend with God. The Word of God cannot be stifled. It will always bear fruit. We see this today. In spite of threats and penalties, the Word of God is till spoken and followed. Loyalty to a system and its “leadership” is less important than loyalty to the Word of God as each of us understands it. While the system claims to preach certainty and prevent doubt, any who follow the Word of God as they understand it do face doubt. Faith in Jesus does not give us certitude, but it does call us forward. Certitude results in the development of a system that codifies its certitude, and the whole process begins again. Faith is trust in Jesus bringing us along through what we do not know but believe. Faith is a journey always into the unknown, all the while believing Jesus is calling us to do whatever it is that we feel we have to do.

It is becoming clearer that the church, the People of God, the followers and disciples of Jesus, is much great than the system and its “leadership” as they are now constituted. There is need for respectful dialogue and discernment which are rooted in prayer. There is no need or room for threats, judging, name-calling, etc. When we are afraid of dialogue and discernment, it is a sign that we are not comfortable enough in our own approach to faith, and so attack any whose words are not identical to ours. As there are many facets to truth, so there are many avenues to truth. Who is to say one is better than all others, or than only one is true while all others are false? As the Story quotes the prophets, “They shall all be taught by God”.

Just sayin  .  .  .

also,    www.phrogge.com          (perhaps a bit extreme)


Entry filed under: Catholic, Church Leadership, Cleveland Diocese, Current Church, Forbidden topics, Gospel thoughts, Local issues, Priest. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

29 July 2012, Thoughts on Loaves and Fish

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bob Kloos  |  August 13, 2012 at 07:35

    Conversation is one of my newest favorite words. It suggests that anyone with a thought or reflection or “inspiration” ought to feel welcome or be invited to speak. And all must listen. Local authority is not the sole domain of wisdom and experience comes is all forms. I encourage people to express themselves, in writing or in words. It is a great warm-up for a conversation that will begin, eventually.


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