Sunday 2 September 2018

Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
Responsorial Psalm 15: 2-5, Response 1
Second Reading James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27
Gospel Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Almost every day over the last few weeks I have had the thought about taking a break from social media. Between the clergy scandal, the Vigano papers, Trump, Trudeau. The whole world seems to be a mess. And for the most part that is why I continue to be Catholic, there is a quote from Douglas Coupland's book Life After God:
"Now -- here is my secret:    I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem capable of giving; to help me to be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond able to love."
And I would go one step further, "I need God and I need the Catholic Church". In my opinion and experience the three things that differentiate the Catholic tradition are the Eucharist (Mass), Confession, and our Mother Mary. I spent about 10 years outside the Catholic tradition, so for some I am a revert, I reverted to the Catholic faith, as opposed to a convert. And each of those three things played a central role in my return and my every deepening faith. The other day I had to stop by the parish to help out with a request. I sat in the empty sanctuary for a while. Jesus was there in the tabernacle. And with all that is going on in the world I just did not have words to pray. I just sat and visited with Jesus. All I could really feel was 'Jesus you are here, and I am here and without words that is enough'. And it was I came away much refreshed. 

This week's readings remind me of that need. Need for time with God, and time with the son. The second reading focuses on service:
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
We need to keep ourselves pure so that we can be of true service. Our relationship with Father, Spirit and Son will help us in our relationships with others and help us to live a life of service. And that same though echo's in the gospel reading but from the flip side:
"Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, what is written, 'This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.' You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition."
Reading about the news today this passage could easily be written about some in leadership in the church and the Catholic community. But that is all the more reason to be praying, to go to confession, to receive communion. To receive the strength we need for the days ahead. Our mission, our calling has not changed, and if anything we need to live even more above reproach.

I pray for you my readers. And this week I ask a special prayer intention for me, after two years of personal discernment and prayer, I have started the application process for the permanent diaconate.  And will likely begin the year of formal discernment next year. I was asked why would I proceed with this with all that is going on in the church. I had asked my priest for the letter of intent 2 weeks before so much of this blew up. And in light of recent events, my call to serve is even stronger. It is not an easy time to be a Catholic. But it is important. As I stated "I need God and I need the Catholic Church". Please be praying for me and know that I pray for you.

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