Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

(Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-47)

Msgr. Charles King was a priest’s priest.  He gave himself completely to the shepherding of souls.  He learned Spanish to assist the growing numbers in his parish who could not speak English.  He also sought Church unity by participating in ecumenical and interreligious movements.  On Sundays after parish masses were celebrated, Msgr. King didn’t crash in front of the television but would call shut-ins of the parish to offer his support.  This pastor illustrates what Jesus has in mind when he answers Peter’s question in the gospel today.

“Lord, is this parable (of a thief breaking into a house) meant for us or for everyone?” Peter asks Jesus on behalf of his companions.  In his answer Jesus implies that it is meant for his apostles not so much as missionaries but as pastors.  They are to provide pastoral care so that the faithful are not stolen away by the empty promises of evil.  They must also avoid taking advantage of their people by accruing for themselves the favors that the people would give to the Lord.

Pastors need the Spirit’s support and, therefore, the prayers of the faithful to fulfill their responsibilities.  When we think about it, we realize that prayers for faithful leadership redound to everyone’s benefit.  Not only are the people in the pews assisted by their parish priests, but those same people also have shepherding roles.  Parents, of course, are to guide their children to holiness and all Christians should give one another edifying example.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

(Romans 5:12.15b.17-19.20b-21; Luke 12:35-38)

Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the United States has more than sinful and scandalous; it has been horrendous.  About three thousand priests over a period of fifty years have been accused of such crime, according to the Church’s Promoter of Justice at the Vatican.  Could any good come out of such a cesspool?  Now it is safe to answer, “Yes.”  The Church’s response has been thorough and effective.  If at one time the Church was lax in supervision, now it is exemplary.  The checks that it has set up seem to have made it a model for curtailing the evil.  It can be sighted as an example of what St. Paul means in today’s reading from his Letter to the Romans that “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.”

Paul is writing of human sinful nature the history of which dates back to the first man and woman.  Even with the aid of the Hebrew Law, humans were caught in a vortex of evil.  Then Jesus came to stem the downward thrust.  He not only lived righteously but died to make manifest the egotism at the root of sin.  His death, however, left no trace of personal disgrace as he rose in glory, the first instance of a blessing that encompasses all his followers.

The Holy Spirit has given the Church a resiliency to overcome scandals like sexual abuse a decade ago.  The Spirit works through each of us.  It urges us to abide by the norms that have been set up and to always examine our consciences so that we might act with prudence.  With the Spirit’s guidance the Church has become the template for sexual temperance.