Happy Monday to you all.
Yesterday, my pastor began his homily by telling us that the Second Sunday of Easter is sometimes referred to as "Low Sunday." Then he added his own twist, saying that sometimes it is also known as "Low Attendance Sunday." He likened the fact that so many were in the hall the week before and now were no longer there, to the fact that Thomas was not there with the other disciples when Christ first appeared after the resurrection. He then went on to talk about the wounds of Christ and then talked about the current state of our wounded, sinful Church.
I remember mentioning the phrase "sinful Church" at one point on the pages of this blog. Someone responded with words like, "You cannot use that phrase because the Church is the spotless Bride of Christ." Well, it seems these days that the spotless Bride is in quite a sad state of affairs. We could go on and on about the almost daily news reports (some horribly misleading; others right on the mark) about the ongoing sexual abuse scandal and the coverups. I want to add my own word of lament and extreme disappointment with just one small facet of this whole sad episode. And I get riled up about this probably because I am still a Bostonian at heart. This has to do with what the Vatican did with the resigned-in-disgrace Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Cardinal Law. As you know, after his resignation, and after a short period spent in prayer, he was appointed the Archpriest of Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome. I still can't even write those words or speak them without a sense of distaste. I don't want to cast the first stone here, but this appointment just seems to be a sinful act to me. Of course, it doesn't affect my day-to-day life as a Roman Catholic. There are too many mouths to feed to wallow in my own disappointment and lament. I wonder sometimes if there will come a time when I reach a tipping point with all of this.
Father Anthony Ruff has an intriguing "Why I Stay: A Liturgical Reflection" over on PrayTell. You can find it here. I think it's a good thing to ask the question—Why do I stay?—in these troubling times. My answer came yesterday when I was welcomed back from the piano bench (after my six week stint as the interim music director) to "my" side of the parish hall (our current space for worship) at St. James. Those made in God's image and likeness embraced me once again. I tasted a little bit more of the heavenly banquet yesterday. When we lifted our voices in song at the end of the liturgy, I was given just a little more of the traveling music on the road to heaven: "I'm so glad Jesus lifted me, singing Glory Hallelujah, Jesus lifted me. Satan had me bound, Jesus lifted me, singing Glory Hallelujah, Jesus lifted me. When I was in trouble, Jesus lifted me, singing Glory Hallelujah, Jesus lifted me." Sounds like a fitting theme song these days, yes?
Why do you stay?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.