Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

The people were amazed in the gospel that Jesus spoke with authority, all because he was able to “expel” the demon from the man possessed. Jesus also spoke without always referring to Moses or one of the prophets, he spoke his own words, emerging from his spirit rooted in his relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The gospel is comprised of “new words” and “new teachings”, e.g., the Beatitudes, the many parables.

Yes, Jesus speaks with authority, and his words of teaching have as much power today as they did during the time they were first spoken. We have just gotten so used to hearing them that they have become like rote prayers we say with little thought; they become just words. Very sad. Very dangerous. Why??? Because the gospel and the person of Jesus risk losing their “authority” and power to transform our lives and our world.

The Church and the gospel have lost much of their authority due to abuses of those in authority. When the Church/parish doesn’t reflect the prophetic power of Jesus and his gospel, when our actions don’t meet the reality of the teachings we claim to follow, the relevance of the church/parish collapses. We all do damage to Christ’s mission when the teachings of the gospel become ordinary and taken for granted.

We desperately need a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the power of the Spirit on the church, and not just on her leaders, but ALL the baptized. People should be amazed TODAY by our words AND actions, giving us an authority rooted in integrity, honesty, and love drained of hypocrisy. We CAN expel the demons of hatred, racism, arrogance and indifference that plague us and hurt us more than any virus. If only we spent more energy by trying to expel these spiritual demons, as we are trying to not get this virus, we and our church would have more authority and.... more members.

Fr. Frank