There is so much discouraging sin and corruption in the Church. Ughhhhhhh. And it is not new (Judas). However, it does seem to be so deeply rooted that more and more hits keep coming.
Why are we Catholic? Jesus. The Eucharist. In obedience to His command that we must eat His body and drink His blood to have life eternal. And when it is hard, like now, we look at him and say, “to whom else can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Hint, this is next week’s gospel).
But we are all frustrated, disgusted, and angry at every revelation of horrific crimes against children and corrupt / perverted clergy. Add shame to that mix as we see who some of us really are. And how about feeling powerless to change anything? That too.
I have struggled with what to say directly, because words alone are meaningless. But I have referred to it indirectly numerous times in homilies recently. How do I address it without making parents explain to innocent children what we are talking about? Do you notice how often Jesus condemns those who are whitewashed tombs? Clean and fancy words, that cover internal rot bring fierce and frequent condemnation from our Lord.
This week, on the feast of the Assumption, Bishop Burbidge emailed his priests, and directly asked us to do reparation for the sins of priests. I promise you to do this. Here is his note:
Finally, in the midst of all this discouragement, a mother came to me to tell me this story from Mass on the Assumption. As her family got to the front for for communion, her 4 year old son’s jaw dropped, and his eyes fixed on the crucifix behind the altar. They could barely get him back to their seats where he asked them, “why is Jesus singing?” Startled, they asked questions. He was seeing Jesus on the crucifix with a huge smile and singing “a God song.” When did Jesus on the cross start singing? “When the dad lifted up the wine.” I don’t often get called ’the dad’ by my spiritual children, but this lifted my soul.
I can’t change the world. I can’t change Jesus’ church. And I only want us to become what we are: the spotless bride of Christ. Only Jesus is spotless. He can and will impute that spotlessness to us through profound repentance, humility, and reparation. This is the never ending work to which all your parish priests commit ourselves.