Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Master, To Whom Shall We Go?

Happy Wednesday to you all.

Sorry not to have posted yesterday; spent the majority of the day in airports and on planes. I got back to Chicago last night, a little before midnight; feeling "jet laggy" today.

So much has been happening in our Church here in the Unites States and abroad this week. The Church in Europe continues to struggle; this morning I read that another Irish bishop's resignation has been accepted by the Vatican; the pope has apologized to the people of Ireland; the Church in the Netherlands is beginning to address what appears to be a large number of sexual abuse complaints. Just this morning I read that the costs associated with the crisis have amounted to 2.2 billion dollars in the United States alone, with a cost of $104, 439, 629 in 2009.

I write a brief reflection on the inside covers of many of WLP's worship resources. At the height of the crisis here in the United States, I remember writing about how painful all of this is for Catholics in the pews. Remember, I am originally from Boston. I struggled as I watched the pain of my family members, some of whom were parishioners in places where priests were removed because of credible allegations. In my own pain, I turned to the scriptures and ended up pondering a section from John's Gospel. This is the section immediately following the "Bread of Life" discourse.

"Then many of his disciples who were listening said, 'This saying is hard; who can accept it?' Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, 'Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.' Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, 'For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.' As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"

I know that many people have left the Church because of all of this. There were times when I wanted to leave. But, ultimately, I pondered the Lord's question to the Twelve, and I had to come to grips with their response and make it—and continue to make it—my own: "Master, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life."

Let's continue to pray for our suffering Church; for those who have suffered abuse of any kind; for those who committed the abuse; for those who have decided to leave.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Adam said...

The question was not, "You, my disciples: I've been molesting children and lying about it. Do you want to leave now?"

It may be that the hard decision, the one we don't want to make but increasingly can no longer avoid, is to serve not the human church but rather Christ Jesus.

Those of us who love both God and our Catholicity should not forget which one of those matters more.

FJH 3rd said...

Well, by serving the Church, we serve Jesus. It remains true that He instituted the (Catholic) Church and despite the work of Satan and the subsequent failings of certain Catholics - clergy and lay alike - it is still His Church. And the fact that our current Holy Father (unlike his predecessor) has accepted such resignations by Bishops gives me great hope that the mess will get resolved, however painfully. Now is not the time to cut bait. It is the time to pray for the Church and, in a special intense way, for Pope Benedict. "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle..."

Chironomo said...

Yes Adam.

Don't forget that what you are asking is EXACTLY the question that Luther asked in response to the abuses of his time. His solution was apostasy and ultimately separation from the Church. Such a question only makes sense if you actually believe that the Church is a "human institution" developed by men.