Everyone is welcomed, loved, forgiven
It has been a grim week in the world of religion and politics — for both the Catholic Church and Washington, the headlines have been devastating; we’re shaken to our core, as we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of countless victims. The grand jury report in Pennsylvania, combined with the felony convictions in New York and Virginia, paint a picture of dishonesty, corruption, the denial of truth.
It is difficult to imagine a greater contrast in God’s Word, as the words “humility” or “servant leadership” best summarize today’s readings. In the first reading, the prophet speaks for our God, thundering, “Here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever”! In Ezekiel’s vision, he saw the glory of God enter the temple. [“The temple was filled with the glory of the Lord.” 43:5]
Jesus connects the dots for us; in admonishing the scribes and Pharisees (for “…placing heavy burdens on others and not lifting a finger to help them… all their works are performed to be seen), he addresses church and politics today, too, as when ministers or government officials use office for personal gain, to enhance and glorify self, or to protect a system, rather than caring for the vulnerable and marginalized.
Today might be a time to ponder the words of some of our contemporary prophets, along with Ezekiel and Jesus:
“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” or“Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, forgiven.” Pope Francis
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis
Fr. Jack Conley, C.P. is a member of the Passionist formation community at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.