Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(II John 4-9; Luke 17:26-37)
One bishop says that he avoids using the terms “liberal” and “conservative” because they are divisive. It certainly is true that many people in the Church distinguish themselves from others with these categories. It may be noted that John the Presbyter in the first reading today employs a similar label, “progressive,” to distinguish himself and his congregation from those who follow a false teaching.
The Second Letter of John does not elaborate on the erroneous doctrine. It does say that the deceivers do not accept Christ coming in the flesh. Although this reference may be a denial of Jesus’ return at the end of time, it more likely negates that Jesus actually offered himself as a bloody sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Furthermore, today’s passage suggests that those who refuse to acknowledge the passion and death of Jesus are not likely to follow his commandment of love.
Many today are “progressive” to the extent that they think a woman has a right to extinguish the life a baby growing in her body. Others are so “traditional” that they believe that capital punishment should be preserved as a way of dealing with criminals. We must take seriously that Christ’s coming in the flesh has profoundly altered our perspective regarding the taking of every human life.