Monday, May 2, 2011

Tribulations and temptations

today's Gospel for Holy Communion from the RCL is Mark 13.5-13

           May Day
            ~after the sunshine

Jesus warned his disciples there were hard times ahead for the Church. What he never warned them about was that there would be good times as well, times of power and prestige ... but that these would be hard times too. The good times the Church has had, the times when it has had power and influence in the secular world have generally only served to store up trouble for the future. This is something that applies to the whole Church, not just parts of it.

Look at the debate that is raging over the Catholic Church's decision to beatify John Paul II. He may have been a holy man, his critics declaim, but look at the mess he made of certain administrative matters (they don't phrase it quite so delicately or abstractly). That's what becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world has done to Christ's Church.

Perhaps it should be kept in mind that the the canonisation process does not create saints but recognises them . Does anyone really doubt that John Paul II has already taken his place within the Communion of Saints? I stood before his tomb some years ago & it seemed to me then that this was something I could know to be true. I see no reason to doubt it now, whatever his critics may say.

Our Lord warned us there would be trouble ahead. Our mistake was to think that there would be times when the troubles would end. They don't, they just change their faces. Tribulations were replaced with temptations. Now tribulations are back. Let us pray that we can learn something from all this and go forward as a wiser, humbler Church of Christ.

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