As For Me and My Family, We will Serve the Lord
This past week I preached about the reports of abuse in the Church and I’m sure we’ve all gone through many of the same emotions from disgust and anger to grief and disappointment. And I’m sure many of us have thought of just leaving the Church. I know 15 years ago when I entered the Seminary, the Church was in the midst of the first round of major abuse cases and I thought to myself “why am I leaving a great job for the priesthood”? Well after much prayer I just couldn’t say no to Jesus. I knew the Catholic Church was the community where he wanted me to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. And to choose otherwise would be to choose less than what God wanted for my life. Today, unfortunately, I know some people will leave the Church over this issue, it reminds me of last week’s Gospel, in John 6:66 some of the disciples, followers of Jesus left Him. And then after leaving Jesus, Jesus turns and looks to Peter asking him “what about you Peter? Will you leave as well? Peter then turns to Jesus and says to Him: To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Peter loved Jesus too much to just walk away. Something we should all reflect on ourselves.
I relate to what someone told me: I’m a believer…. not because of Judas but because of Jesus. What some priests and bishops did was terribly evil, but for me leaving the Church Jesus started because of them would be like saying that evil wins…..evil finally caused me to leave Jesus in the Eucharist. All my life I’ve been fighting for good and so now today, how could I allow myself to leave Jesus in the Eucharist because of the horribly evil actions of a few? Yes, those who have broken laws, broken trust and broken innocent lives need to be held responsible for their crimes so that all the victims may have their day of justice and hopefully this never happens again. But for me, I just can’t give up on believing in all the good I’ve experienced from Jesus in the Eucharist. My heart has been that profoundly blest by God. So as the great prophet Joshua said in last week’s reading, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”!
One of the best responses to the issues I’ve heard came from Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. You can access his message at: http://bit.ly/2MUFQrP
Both Moses and Jesus remind us in this week’s readings that we as God’s people are called to keep God’s commandments, to live by a higher moral standard than the rest of the world. To be a witness to our Faith. The Pharisees and scribes, the so-called religious leaders honored God only with their lips, but their hearts were far from God; in vain did they worship God, teaching as doctrines human precepts. Today just like 2000 years ago there are religious leaders who honor God only with their lips. But it should not be so with us.
We are all called to follow God’s Commandments faithfully. And the only way I know how to keep the Commandments and to love others is by having Jesus in the Eucharist as the source of all that is good. Today may our celebration of the Eucharist, a memorial of the sacrifice of Jesus, the greatest sign of God’s love for us, inform and transform us for the greater good of the world. And may we honor God not just with our lips in prayer, but with our hearts in love and action.
Much love and blessings,