Friday, September 14, 2018

Worn out by the journey

As the current stage of the Church crisis continues to unfold, I feel very much like the Israelites in today's first reading, "with their patience worn out by the journey." They were being led through a trackless desert. There were promises about where they were heading, but it was taking an awfully long time to get there and there was no map or timeline by which to mark their progress.

In other words, they didn't know where they were, where they were going, or when they were going to get there. And in the meantime, conditions were not good.

Personally, I think we are in the midst of one of the most serious trials in the history of the Church. And yet, just as with the Israelites, God is still leading the way despite all evidence seemingly to the contrary. Today's Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, landing blessedly on a Friday so we get the full impact of it, insists on boasting of the foolishness and weakness of the Cross, the failure of God's own Son to wrangle the world into shape in thirty-three years of life on earth and three years of intense ministry.

He experienced in his own body every sin against the innocent and idealistic, against all the faithful. In his crowning with thorns, he allowed his own majesty to be mocked by those pledged to its service. In freely laying down his life, he won the definitive victory over evils that until a month or more ago were known only to the victims, the perpetrators and the enablers. Truly, "we do not yet see all things subject to him, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was 'made lower than the angels' now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death" (Heb. 2:8-9).

The liturgy, riffing on Paul, says "We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our life, salvation and resurrection." "This is the victory that conquers the world: our faith" (1 Jn. 5:4). (I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief!)

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