I should confess to being just a bit distracted as I begin to write this column. That is because I am watching the opening innings of the first game of this year’s World Series.
This has been a difficult and heartbreaking year for our Roman Catholic Church. In fact, it has been a difficult millennium. The hurricane of scandal that has beat against the rock of the Church has left all of us shaken in heart and uncomfortable in mind.
WE OUGHT NOT to be too hard on the Apostles, or for that matter, any of the Jewish people of Jesus’ day. A lot of what they thought about the relationship between themselves and God was based upon common sense – or so it seemed to them.
ONE OF THE most tragic stories in the Bible is that of Solomon, who started off wise, but ended up being foolish and broken. He wasn’t born with the extraordinary wisdom for which he became famous, but rather, he asked God to give him that wisdom so that he could be, above all, a wise, just and good king for the people of Israel.
In the Gospel this weekend, the Pharisees are up to their old tricks, trying to slip Jesus up by indicating that what He’s saying is at odds with what Moses taught about marriage and divorce. Moses, it seemed, was a lot more permissive about those bills of divorce, but Jesus is drawing the line in the sand much more decisively.
WHAT EXACTLY IS Gehenna? Jesus tells us in this Sunday’s Gospel that it is a place where we do not want to go.
If we do not wish to be tone deaf, we must have recourse to Jesus in constant prayer. We need to absorb His words in Sacred Scripture, so that they become our own. We must allow Jesus to speak to our hearts and transform them to see Him in His lowly ones and be their servants. Then we can say to the world, “The Lord upholds my life.”
“WHO DO YOU say that I am?” This question must be answered by every single one of us in our lifetimes and perhaps more than once.
I imagine that must have been the reaction of the Apostles after witnessing the miracle of the deaf and mute man we read in this Sunday’s Gospel. Although Mark relates that Jesus took the man off by himself from the crowd, I am certain that the apostles watched from a distance.
“RELIGION THAT IS pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”