Immersed in Christ: August 12, 2020
WEDNESDAY of the NINETEENTH WEEK in Ordinary Time
The glory of the Lord is higher than the skies.
(Responsorial: Psalm 113)
Ezekiel 9:1-22 tells the angel to mark as approved “all those who moan and groan over all the abominations that are practiced within Jerusalem.” What did Jesus consider “abominations”? The sin of the woman taken in adultery? The sin of the Samaritan, divorced five times and living with a man not her husband? Or the sins of the religious authorities in Jerusalem who plotted his death? The sins of the scribes and Pharisees he raged against in Matthew, chapter 23:
They tie up heavy burdens (hard to carry) and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets an in the synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
We should bewail all sins. But who today are guilty of “abominations” in the Church? Those whose unchosen sexual orientation makes them unable to find the comfort of physical affection in marriage, and whom we condemn for the kind of solace they seek? Or the uncondemned in high places who have coldly and knowingly placed child abusers in positions where they can prey upon the innocent? What sins “cry to heaven”—the sins of the divorced and remarried, or the sins of the ordained who refuse them Communion without “lifting a finger” to help them? Or the little clique of “backlash restorationists” who “sin against the Holy Spirit” by trying to frustrate the goals of the last worldwide gathering of bishops to seek the Spirit’s guidance through open dialogue, prayer and consultation at Vatican II?
On what foreheads would you look for the X?
Matthew 18:15-20 is one of the most ignored instructions in the Gospel. Anyone who ever “reports” someone to a pastor, bishop or pope without a one-on-one confrontation beforehand sins against it. Authorities who condemn authors or remove bishops without sitting down and discussing the issues on a “level playing field” and revealing all and every denunciation or report made against the accused likewise sin against the will of God as Jesus declared it here. Bishops and popes have the authority to “declare bound and loosed.” But to do so without proper procedure is abuse of power. It is an “abomination.”
The correct procedure is to pray together before discussing any issues that divide us. It is almost never done. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” When do those in conflict in the Church “gather together”? If we can’t join each other in anything else, we can always “join our voices” in praying together. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask, it shall be granted.” Why not try it?
Initiative: Follow the Gospel. Jesus is a better guide than current custom.