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September 10, 2018 - Jesus Would Act...So Should We

Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

These are trying days for the Catholic Church. Today's readings, especially 1 Corinthians, really hit home in relation to the ongoing sexual abuse we are (again) hearing so much about. We, the people of God, are the Church and one of the most disturbing aspects is the overwhelming powerlessness many of us feel. Powerlessness can leave us feeling so paralyzed it can prevent us from taking action…much like fear. As disciples of Jesus, there is one thing we know for certain. Jesus would take action.

St Paul speaks to the people about a situation involving incest (a man having relations with his stepmother). St. Paul criticizes the community for not only overlooking the wrongdoing, but their communal arrogance as well. ' A little yeast leavens the dough' is the metaphor Paul uses to illustrate the destructive nature of such sin within the community. He admonishes, "Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough". Paul's pronouncement of what must happen to the offender is grave—excommunication from the Christian community. In addition to protecting the community, the hope is that the consequences and suffering of separation will result in repentance, conversion and salvation for the offender. St Paul urges a return to 'the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth'.

Today, how will the Church return to sincerity and truth? As members of the Body of Christ, what is our role in the cleansing and renewal that is desperately needed? How can we acknowledge the harm and assist in the healing of so many wounded and suffering brothers and sisters? What action lies within our own power to participate, even lead, in this process? Now more than ever, the faithful must remain faithful to the Christ we proclaim to follow. We must fight against the fear and powerlessness that would hold us back from speaking aloud what is truth and what is not. We must pray for everyone involved and advance the sincerity and truth of what Jesus teaches. There ARE times that require radical, exhaustive cleansings…even (especially) in the Church. This is one of them. How are we going to act?

--Gail Lyman