Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Strive to Bring Joy and Hope!"

“Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then each of us shall give and account of himself to God. Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to and approved by others.” (Romans 14: 10-13, 16-17)

“Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon.

Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others.” (Article 19a-b, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)

Roman Catholic bishops have been in the news a lot this past month. Unfortunately, the general media has not portrayed them in the best of light. There have been stories of bishops trying to prevent politicians from receiving Holy Communion; of standing on a principal so firmly that services to the poor maybe adversely affected. There has been reports of the bishops trying to determine how “Catholic” are universities, news media, and service organizations. And then there is the Visitation of American sisters by the Roman Curia.

Now granted, the general media is not very sympathetic, or neutral, when is comes to the Catholic hierarchy. And the stories are usually about a few very public, very conservative bishops. But it gives some the impression that the American bishops are becoming what some are saying the Republican Party is becoming; the Party, or rather, the Church of “No!”

There are hidden stories out there of bishops, priests, deacons and laity doing great work of bringing healing and peace to people; but this makes for boring copy as far as the media is concerned.

I am not saying that the bishops should give up their prophetic role in society. But I wish someone would remind them that Jesus commissioned the Church to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are called to bring joy to the sorrowing; to heal physical and spiritual wounds, and to work for peace. We are not called to judge; condemn, calling down fire and brimstone. We are called to be a light to the world, which will draw people towards our community, not away. We are called to be a community of love.

No comments:

Post a Comment