Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary time
(II Corinthians 3:4-11; Matthew 5:17-19)
A woman was making her case for changes in Church teaching. She focused on the issue of divorce and remarriage. Her reasoning for defending the right of Catholics in such a situation to receive Holy Communion was straight forward. Just as Jesus brought the teaching of the Old Testament to a new level, so the Holy Spirit is advancing the people of God a step beyond. Divorce, women ordinations, same-sex marriage are parts of the fresh teachings. But such a logic conflicts with Scripture as well as established Church teaching.
In today’s first reading St. Paul indicates the grandeur of the gospel. He sees it as much more glorious than the already wondrous teaching of the Jewish Scriptures. The gospel helps to clarify what Paul means. Jesus says that he has come to fulfill the law and the prophets. In other words, he will bring them to perfection. In the Gospel according to John he speaks of the Holy Spirit as coming to the Church. Its role, however, will not be to modify the gospel but to clarify its hidden and debatable meanings.
We may feel confused at times because the Church changes some practices. Certainly the use of the common languages for the sacraments presented such a change. But it is inaccurate that the Church has changed its basic teachings. She can never change her stand on the inviolability of marriage, its reality as a union of a male and a female, and the reservation of the priesthood for men. However, Church leaders realize that attitudes of male dominance are sinful and must be eradicated. They know to remain faithful to the gospel they must promote the equal dignity of all.