Sunday, 25 October 2009

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

In Mark’s Gospel, the story about Bartimaeus is more than the story about blindness and the restoration of sight. It is an account of faith because after his sight was restored, Bartimaeus followed Jesus along the road. An important note is that Jericho is not far from Jerusalem, the place of Christ’s suffering. The symbolism cannot be lost because faith has this effect: to know Christ is to follow Him in suffering.

Basically, Mark’s theology is simply that Christ is the one who brings salvation to Israel. Therefore, healings are a sign that Christ’s salvation is already in the world. Consider that in Mark, very few recognise Jesus as the Messiah. So, it is remarkable and ironical that we have a blind man who recognises Jesus by acknowledging Him with the title of the Messiah: Son of David. And the Messiah’s response to Bartimaeus is not “You are healed” but “Go, your faith has saved you”. A closer reading of the Gospel reveals that blindness actually describes a lack of faith and not the lack of vision.

Thus the Gospel invites us to take a second look at how blind we can be in recognising the Lord and how slow we can be in responding to Him. What sort of faith are we to have?

First, faith is a kind of vision. As far as the eyes can see, we call that the horizon. Now, the horizon we have is provided by our vantage point. What happens is that the higher our vantage point is, the further the distance of our horizon will be! Faith is a vantage point because it allows our eyes to peer into a horizon beyond what our eyes can see.

But, the truth is, many of us are limited in our horizon because we cannot see beyond ourselves. Looking at oneself is not a bad proposition. For example, it is said that “feeling good” about oneself allows us to feel good about others. Or, you cannot give to others what you do not have. However, the challenge is not to allow this “looking inward” or introspection BE just about the self—my needs, my wants, my ambitions, my hurts, my dreams and my vision etc. The “self”, important as it may be, can also be a limitation to horizon because it prevents faith from seeing beyond what we are capable of to what God is capable of.

Faith allows a person to see beyond the self to what is possible. Jesus himself saw beyond the fig tree that Nathaniel was under. He saw a Nathaniel destined to do great things. Jesus saw beyond the sycamore tree that Zacchaeus was on top of. He saw a Zacchaeus who would be converted to a vision of just relationship.

Jesus’ “vision”—what he saw—was not entirely the result of positive thinking because He did see unsavoury business taking place in the Temple and He drove them all out. He lamented the hardness of heart in the Pharisees and the Scribes. In the age of positive thinking, what we think of as “faith” may not be more than what it is: positive thinking. The horizon of faith is deeper and wider than just being an eternal optimist.

Faith frees the heart to feel, the mind to think further and the imagination to dream. The vision of faith allows us to peer beyond the veil of superficial or cosmetic appearance. Thus, when faith is shallow, the mind constricts, the heart chills and the imagination dies. When faith is weak we become engrossed or obsessed with what is only the appearance. Reliance on God becomes more tiring when we have no faith.

In summary, do note that Mark does not normally name the character in play. Hence, Bartimaeus is so named because Mark highlights the pivotal role faith must play in our lives. What we have today is “self-confidence”. It does not lead to Christ. Only with faith will we recognise Jesus and more so Him in the widow, the poor and the orphan. Only with faith will we follow Him and serve Him in those who are “set aside” by society. Furthermore, you see how powerful faith is. As a beggar, Bartimaeus depended on his cloak. The cloak acts as a “net” to catch whatever coins that are thrown at him. When Jesus offered Himself to Bartimaeus, he shrugged off his cloak of dependence and followed Jesus. We all depend on the cloak of our self-confidence. We depend on our capability or strength. But, Bartimaeus shows us who we should really depend on.

Faith is the only key to discipleship and salvation. We need faith to recognise Jesus, to know Him and to shrug off any encumbrances that prevent us from following Him. We need to pray for that gift.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

The theme for Mission Sunday is Christ the Suffering Servant of God. The word that strikes at our Catholic heartstrings is “suffering” because the Church seems to have a passion for suffering. The passage taken from the Prophet Isaiah reinforces the perception that the Church and suffering come as a package. The truth is, as the two sons of thunder jostle for a place of honour in the line-up of the future glorious Lord, He draws their attention to the fact that authority is for service and only then, service and suffering become two sides of a coin.

The place of honour sought by the brothers has its appeal and its grandeur is even more alluring in our age of celebrity. We live in an age that has gone beyond the simple categories of fame or notoriety. In the past, one was either famous or notorious. Today, it does not matter as long as one opens that 15-minute window of glory to celebrity-hood. But, the craving for celebrity status is not our concern. What is of greater concern is that the authority that James and John sought from being honoured with Christ has lost its credibility.

The 19th/20th century gave us three great thinkers whose thoughts or reflexions correspond to 3 vital areas of our lives. In the area of psychology, we enter the world of Sigmund Freud’s psycho-analysis. In the arena of economics, Karl Marx is no stranger to us as he tries to level the playing field. In the realm of politics, Friedrich Nietzsche introduces us to power.

Now, great thinkers they may be, but, collectively, they are called the Masters of Suspicion. Their hermeneutics or their principle of interpretation is basically one of suspicion or distrust. Freud, in the area of psychology teaches that motives are often impure and cannot be trusted. Marx shows us that capital is the struggle between the rich and the poor. Capital cannot be trusted because it is basically the rich oppressing the poor. Finally, Nietzsche’s genius is found in the will to power. Everything is about power or control and as such those who are powerful cannot be trusted.

In the last 100 years or so, we realise that these 3 Masters of Suspicion have been proven right—time and again. People who are honoured because they have good intentions are often not trustworthy—holy men and women betray their vocations and often the more holy the more hypocritical. [1] Those who have money will make sure that the status quo is maintained. How can a person be rich, if there were no poor people beneath them? Finally, power is corrupt. We have witnessed coercive power at work—coercion and the treat of punishment are a lethal and corrupt mixture in the disguised service of the greater good.

In short, the crisis in our age is trust. If we lament that the defining feature of this age is characterised by a loss of faith in God, it is perhaps an indictment against humanity more than it is against God. Loss of faith in God is symptomatic of the loss of faith in humanity. [2]

Hence, the Gospel is timely today. Firstly, it is not focused on the suffering. Christ and His Church do not look for suffering in itself; that would be masochism. On the contrary, suffering is often the consequence of the sacrifice entailed by serving that allows us to say that suffering and service are two sides of a coin. Once we accept that the consequence of service is suffering, perhaps we can now understand that Christ, the suffering servant is more relevant than ever. You may experience that honoured people cannot be trusted. You may meet people for whom riches have not made them more graceful but instead have turned them rather disgraceful and you may come across people for whom power is only self-serving. All these experiences may discourage you to the point of cynicism or drive you into a self-contained but asphyxiated world—a world choked by its pessimism. [3]

But, Christ shows us a way out of our current malaise or crisis. The greatest redemption for authority is to be found in service. In short, the best way to be honoured for your good intentions, to be wealthy or to be powerful is to serve. Last week, I mentioned that proper development of the conscience with regard to wealth as blessings begins with our direct involvement with the poor. Why? The answer is found in Matthew 25. The service of the least of Christ’s brethren is to serve Him. Anything that wields us authority—honour, wealth or power—anything that places us a rank above others, now in Christ, becomes a responsibility to serve Him.

In summary, more than ever, the healing of our intention, the rehabilitation of wealth and the restoration of the proper use of power must take place in the arena of service. [4] In the olden days, kings stood at the head of their army leading the charge and were often the first to be killed. How else to be an effective leader if one does not know how to serve and be the example or model? Christ, who is pure in His love, whose wealth is His divinity and who has power as God, has shown us the path of service. He who is everything has shown us what it means to wield authority. The more honoured you are, the richer you are and the more powerful you are, that is, the more authority you possess, the greater must your service be. A tell-tale sign that you have come into the authority of Christ is this: no one, not even a beggar and nothing, not even washing the toilet, is below your dignity to serve or to do. Service, at the heart of the Christian message, is rooted in strength. It is not a sign of weakness but really an exercise in strength. Only the strong dares to serve. The weak will cling to authority.
[1]People avoid the term “holy”. We simply cannot trust people’s motives.

[2]There are people who think that bringing new life into the world is an act of grave irresponsibility. Such thinking illustrates not only the loss of faith in humanity but also is symptomatic of the tiredness of the human spirit. There is a dearth of inspiration that cries out for the Holy Spirit.
[3] The hermeneutics of suspicion can only take us so far. We may distrust everything but only so much. Otherwise, a radical distrust will only end up with paranoia or the inability to function. Ultimately, we begin to doubt the very ground we stand on. Thus, the hermeneutics of suspicion is balanced by the opposite which is the hermeneutics of trust. The hermeneutics of trust ties in with a God who is also Providence.
[4]Authority accorded by honourable intention, wealth or power is redeemed by service.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

History has shown that Christianity has had an uneasy relationship with “wealth”. In fact, literature from the time of Chaucer made references to wealth often with negative connotation and that gave rise to terms like “filthy lucre”. The focus of this Sunday’s Gospel on the Rich Young Man’s inability to let go of his wealth, may sway us gently into this way of thinking that the possession of wealth is not a good [a bonum]. The Gospel states clearly that “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. And because we are preoccupied by his inability to let go of his wealth, we may lose sight of the fact that the young man was a good man. In fact, as the Rich Young Man turns to Jesus for further guidance, the Gospel enumerates a list of virtues, a rather long list that the young has fulfilled. Thus, the inability to part with wealth should be placed in a bigger picture of the inability to follow Christ, i.e., he lacks the freedom to follow the Lord.

The focus is on discipleship. The Rich Young Man represents not just wealth, even though the adjective “rich” is used to qualify him. Instead, he represents any inability or the lack of freedom to follow the Lord. He is a reminder to us that anything, not only wealth, can deter us from following Christ. [Even the poor can fail in following the Lord].

In a positive sense, the focus on discipleship also reveals the real search of the Rich Young Man. Given all that he has, he is actually asking the question of the purpose of life. In a sense, he is typical of many people today, especially the young. For many of us, the train of life may be a never-ending ride or journey filled with distractions or amusements. Sadly, our frenetic pace of life does not always encourage the spiritual reflexion necessary to make life more purposeful.

But, like the Rich Young Man, at some point, in our insatiable quest for wealth of any kind—money, fame and success, we must stop and ask the important questions of life. This search may best be framed by these questions: “For whom am I ready to give up everything that I have”? For whom would I give up not just my wealth but also my career advancement, my addictions, my pleasure and my possessions? In short, Whom and not what do I think can fulfil my inmost longings better than anything that I have?

In a world divided by “haves” and “have-nots”, and where lucre is filthy, it is easy to pass judgement on the rich as those who will find it difficult to enter the kingdom of heaven. But, this simple division of the world may detract us, whether rich OR poor, to the need to deepen our discipleship. So, wealth is not really the enemy. Look at the long list of virtues the young man has. He has not done anything bad. In a sense, he is a model disciple but he is likened to someone living on the safe side of the law. What happens is that we tend to hold the avoidance of evil to be the sole measure of a virtuous life—see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. However, this attitude may lead to apathy, simply because, the avoidance of evil can easily be translated into non-involvement as one minds one’s own business. Thus, a pertinent or relevant question to ask in the current context is “How much of the way body politics is shaped in this country is in fact a direct or indirect consequence of this “I am not involved” attitude?” “I have not done anything wrong" is NOT always a right thing.

In the light of “I have done nothing bad” or virtue as the avoidance of evil, the possession of wealth leads us into the realm of possibilities. That was why Jesus looked steadily at the young man and loved him. Jesus saw the great potential in this young man. From “I have not cheated” he saw the possibilities of this young man helping the poor. From “I have not killed”, he saw the possibilities of this young man giving life to those who needed it. Thus, the critique against the possession of wealth is best understood as a critique against not doing what is possible.

In this sense, wisdom is needed as we heard in the first reading. We must choose wisely the course of action with regard to what we have. In the end, we begin to appreciate that true wealth begins not with accumulation—with money, fame or success, etc. True wealth begins with doing what is good or doing what can be done. It is not just avoiding evil, important as that may be.

Wealth is relative, that is, its possession is always in relation to God [for He provides] and others [whom God chooses to bless through us]. It is not possession in absolute terms. In general people are not afraid of sharing. People are not afraid of giving. Wealth only becomes an expression of greed when people fear that there may not be enough to get back what they had given out. [Clearly, a lack of trust in God’s Providence]. People hold on to what they have because they fear that in giving up what they have, what is replaced will not be able to satisfy them. In the Gospel, Christ offers Himself as the only satisfying reward for giving up. “I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over”. Christ is the only wealth or possession worth the sacrifice of our lives.

In summary, the other side of the wealth is discipleship. It is this relationship between what is gift, what is given that we begin to understand the sin of omission—the sin of not doing what is made possible by the gift given. As long as we have an uneasy relationship with wealth due to the guilt of association with filthy lucre, then we will not be able to appreciate wealth in relation to the Kingdom of God. If you feel guilty because you are wealthy, then know that it is the wrong guilt. But, if you feel guilty because you have not done enough with what you have, then you may be on the track of proper conscience. And, the development of a proper conscience with regard to the possession of wealth begins with our direct involvement with the poor. Wealth may be the root of all evil but it is also the seed of discipleship—a start on the road of grace. “Do what you can. Give to the poor. Come follow me”. The challenge for the Christians today is not the possession of wealth or even the accumulation of wealth but rather to understand, appreciate and interiorise how our wealth is to be at the service of the Kingdom of God—for the praise and glory of God and through us, the means of God blessing our brothers and sisters.

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B [4th October 2009]

It is perhaps fortuitous that this weekend is the memorial of St Francis Assisi and the theme centres on the family. Why fortuitous? St Francis was a man of peace and his message, perhaps, has implications for the human family. If you like, the readings today point toward the unit of peace called the family. According to the First Reading, God made man and woman for each other. The bond of marriage means that they are no longer two but one. Christ in the Gospel teaches that the marriage comes from God and is therefore indissoluble.

In the face of global armed conflicts and with the threat of a nuclear holocaust becoming more real, the idea of world peace is indeed sought after. Just like the movie Miss Congeniality, world peace is supposed to be every beauty queen’s desire. [1] That airy fairy fuzzy desire for world peace must begin concretely with the family.

How can the family be a means to world peace?

The first reading taken from Genesis may help us here. There are two accounts of the “institution” of marriage found there. The first speaks of marriage in terms of fruitfulness or procreation. The second looks at marriage as meeting a human need for companionship and for equality—the basis for our thought on peace in the family. In the Gospel, Jesus draws his inspiration from the Book of Genesis instead of from the Book of Deuteronomy. The Pharisees, on the one hand, looked for their loophole in the indecency clause of Deuteronomy to get out of a marriage whereas Jesus, on the other hand, looked at His Father’s will as the foundation for marriage’s stability. Through faithful love, man and woman will come to reflect the faithfulness of God to creation.

Faithful love or marriage stability is a reflexion of or better still, a sacrament of God’s faithful love. According to a survey of Entertainment Weekly, there are 15 lines that more than any others epitomises the worst, the silliest, the most cringe-worthy movie lines ever spoken. Almost at the top is Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire (1996): “You complete me”. Apart from the fact that it may be silly, it certainly is a reflexion of our lost sense of perspective. Many of us no longer believe in the permanency of marriage. “You complete me” is basically the message of our Genesis reading. The unity that is brought about by mutual completion or mutual fulfilment of each other is the basis for the celebration of marriage.

In marriage we proclaim God’s faithfulness to us and what a better proclamation than to see couples, men and women who after 30 years of marriage can still sit together and hold hands. Here, in this parish, let me assure you that there are as many grieving widows as there are merry widows. For some people, death of a partner is a welcome change but for others, death begins this long life of pained loneliness. On the one hand, what is most reassuring in the face of death is the resurrection; that we will be reunited with those whom we love—it is part of supernatural faith that gives us this comfort. But, on the other hand, there is the natural longing and pining for one’s partner. This gives us all a deep sense of the value that marriage has brought to lives of individuals.

Marriage stability is a great gift that the family can give to the cause of world peace. The grammar of world peace is written in the structure of the human family. There will be peace on earth to the extent that humanity discovers its calling to family life. Nothing is more important to the health of children than that they come from stable marriages. Before we go into that, divorce is a reality. First, today, it is easier to divorce because the taboo against it is no longer that strong. Second, some people find themselves in a state separation through no fault of theirs. Thus, our reflexion on the stability of marriage is not a judgement of those who find themselves in the unenviable position of separation. Divorce or separation is not always a result of personal failure.

If anything, the prevalence of divorce and its acceptance in our culture must spur us on to protect the family even more. In this respect, the Church or in particular, this parish owes a great deal of gratitude to couples who have remained married to each other over the years and through thick and thin have held together. Thus, the parish invites them to share joys and sorrows by celebrating their anniversaries with us.

In marriage, as in every relationship, the bond between man and woman has to be worked on. Nothing suffers more from “disuse” than from being unused. Compare the difference between an unused portion of a travel journey and a disused swimming pool. Which gives you a greater sense of dereliction? A disused swimming pool suggests of broken tiles, green algae and stagnant water. Marriage suffers from “disuse” and not from being unused and a disused marriage suggests of broken promise, unhealed hurts and a moribund relationship. There are many marriages falling into disuse.

The result cannot be good for the family. You can see the indissolubility of marriage is not just a concern of priests. There is justification for couples to strengthen their married life because the fruit of their love for each other, their children, is best nurtured and cared for when a marriage is stable.

You are challenged; we are challenged to promote good family life. A good family is not a perfect family. It may be a struggling family trying to live the way that God intends. You should find some modicum of hope because there are very few perfect families. Like many families, you probably belong to the category of struggling families. But, remember the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage. When a couple comes before the Altar to pronounce their vows, God also promises to be with the couple. In many cases, it is we who break the promise to God. So, rest assured that God is with you and He promises to help you. But, you need to trust Him and trust each other.

Our desire for world peace has led us to the family—the building block of peace. Thus, today is a good day to look at the family and ask how a struggling family may improve in its “familial” relationship and praise be to God if you have a wonderful family, then ask how a good family may become even better.
[1] If you know the movie, every contestant was asked what she would do if she won the crown. The answer given with a dreamy look was she would promote world peace.

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B [27th Sept 2009]

The theme this Sunday is God’s Spirit in the World. The readings give us a glimpse of God’s Spirit working in the world. According to John 3:8, [and this was echoed in the Processional Hymn], the Spirit is like the wind for He blows wherever He wills. The freedom of the Spirit to act according to His will blends in very much with our accepted notion of what freedom is or how we ought to conceive freedom. The freedom of the Spirit to act outside the norm is at times taken to be the attitude of “anti-establishment”. Furthermore, that the Spirit cannot be stifled is also sometimes translated as the Spirit cannot be found in “institutions” etc—like governments or Church. [1] Thus, freedom may be construed as being able to stand up to established norms or authorities. [2]

But, freedom draws a line. You puzzle as to why freedom is defined by a line. The first reading and the Gospel may lend themselves to our understanding that freedom is to stand outside or against the established norms or authorities, but they actually speak in terms of gifts in relation to the community. In the first reading, Moses confirms this when he wished that the Spirit be given to everyone and in the Gospel, those who work in the name of Jesus are deemed empowered by the Spirit and as such they should not be stopped.

Thus, freedom is not willy-nilly the freedom to do as one wishes the way we think the Spirit does. The line drawn by freedom is relevant to us especially in the context of living in a global village. Lines demarcate and as such, they may tend to exclude and this runs counter to the current convention which is tolerance and inclusive. We want the freedom from constraints in order to interact as we like and living under the glare of sometimes hostile media, we may be afraid to “define” ourselves for fear that we be judged prejudiced or bigoted. As a result, in a globalised context, the Spirit is our excuse and our licence. Whenever we want to escape the limitation imposed by the incarnation, we claim the passport of freedom from the Spirit.

But freedom is a line and the Spirit drew the line strongly against sin. For example, the 2nd Reading is not really that sympathetic. It warns those whose riches are ill-gotten that their wealth will not be their security but instead, wealth will be their corruption. “On earth, you have had a life of comfort and luxury”. In short, your days are numbered.

In the Gospel, that line is called Hell. The original meaning of Gehenna is that awful place where Jews before the time of Jesus held human sacrifice. The Prophet Jeremiah condemned the place outside of Jerusalem which became for the Jews a dump where rubbish was burnt. Hell would be like Gehenna—to sin and lead others to sin would be to condemn oneself to Gehenna or eternal separation.

Given our understanding of freedom as unfettered or is without responsibility, the idea of the Spirit as freedom from encumbrance is certainly tempting. This is often the case when we come across what we think and what the Church teaches. Thus, the idea or notion “anti-establishment” becomes a necessary stance for freedom. Where we find the Church’s teaching limiting our freedom we turn to the Spirit to cry freedom.

But, there is a closer bond than we dare to think between the Spirit and the Church because every gift of the Spirit given to the Church is given for service. Thus, the context of Moses and Jesus teaching the Elders and the Disciples was about the use of gifts by the Spirit for the greater good. In fact, the Liturgy will remind us time and again that the primary gift of the Spirit is unity. [3] Nowhere does the Spirit behave “fancifully” or according to our “dictates or whims”. The reason why the Spirit of freedom is “tied” or somewhat “limited” by the Church is found at the end of Matt 28: “I am with you to the end of time”. It is Christ’s promise to His Church. The promise is to His Church and it is not a guarantee that we will not be unfaithful. In fact, Christ’s promise to be with His Church through the Spirit is found in our liturgy at the part where after the Our Father, the priest says, “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, I give you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins [4] but look on the faith of your Church”. That Church is the faithful one responding to the faithful Lord’s question of identity, “Who do people say I am”?: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. The Church can never be unfaithful because she stands on the guarantee of Christ. However, the same cannot be said of us. We, you and me, her children, are often the unfaithful ones.

Part of our fear of institutions or our aversion to any establishment comes from our experience that people who are in charge of doing what is good for all are those who pervert the good for all. It does not take us far beyond the entrance or exit of the Church to find that. The controversy over the nearby Port Klang Free Zone is one example. We have encountered one case after another reported with great fanfare in the beginning but then it is quietly withdrawn from our collective glare. But, since we needn’t go far, the same judgement could be levelled against those who serve the Church. Some might even say that the team which runs the parish is no different. [5]

So, what and how are we to judge if the Spirit is at work? A good measure of how to discern the Holy Spirit’s movement is what Jesus Himself said: Check the fruit—a good tree produces good fruit. Ignatian spirituality measures the fruit in terms of the increase of faith, hope and charity. Gamaliel, during the persecution of the early Christians further confirms it by asking the Pharisees not to be hasty but to consider that God cannot be defeated in something that He wills to do.

Now, if you think about it, the freedom of the Spirit that we want is not unbridled freedom. We are not exactly comfortable with indeterminacy. An example to illustrate this discomfort with indeterminacy is the experience of nostalgia. We associate nostalgia with the elderly. But, go check out this place of worship where you find young people who go there for the manner Mass is celebrated—priest and people facing the Lord. Are the young people nostalgic? Maybe they are. The difference is, for the elderly, nostalgia may simply be a yearning for the past. For the young, nostalgia is more than yearning for the past. It is a cry, a yearning for certainty, boundary, determinacy or permanency. The lack of determinacy or permanence which we confuse to be freedom often leads to emptiness—as the French would call it, “ennui”. These young people are looking for some semblance of permanency and a sense of the eternal. [6]

In conclusion, we are much more limited or determined because we are embodied spirit—it is the reality of being incarnated. Indeterminacy does not always make us happy. In fact, we need boundaries in order to function properly. Everyone here probably has had this experience with family or close friends? You get into your family car and you ask: “Where do you want to eat?” Anywhere. “What would you like to eat?” Anything. Nothing is more energy-sapping when going out to eat in Café Anywhere ordering from the Menu of Anything!

Today’s readings may seem to call for the freedom of the Spirit to go beyond the limits or boundaries of the established norms. But, this interpretation could be the result of what we like to hear. It is true that they call us to be more open and inclusive. But, how do we serve the purpose of inclusivity and tolerance? How do we show that the Spirit is present? It is certainly not by the dictum that everything or anything can. Fraught as the process may be of trying to “draw the line”, still we must because that is the only way we can serve humanity better. Freedom in the Spirit is helped when we begin to listen closely to what the Spirit is teaching us through what is primarily the locus for the Spirit’s work: the Church—the Spouse of Christ. A good place to start is the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a relevant question to ask is: “Do you have a copy”?
[1] This is not a wholesale pitch for government policies or Church authority.
[2] Freedom is defined as revolutionary. But, the French Revolution, the mother of all revolutions, will show us that in due time, the revolution will devour her own children.
[3] And not the gift of Disunity where everyone says, “My gift is the only one that is most necessary for the community’s good”.
[4] “Our” refers concretely to you and me.
[5] When we cannot separate the person from the Institution, we will fall into despair or cynicism because we see the failure of the “individual” as the failure of the Institution....
[6] Some of us who consider ourselves as sophisticated and are purveyors of change tend to look down on these young people as “neo-conservatives”. We are so at the forefront of “relevance” that we have failed to see that “radical” also means faithfulness to tradition.