My Dear Parishioners,
When I was in high school, I worked with Tell Asner who as an atheist. He was a good man, and I questioned what was the difference between a Christian and any other person. There did not seem to be a noticeable difference between the ways people of different faiths or people with no faith lived their lives. I also remember reading about Jesus and the early Church and sensing that there seemed to be a disconnect between what they lived and experienced and what the Church is today. With the scandals coming to light in the Church, I see it as a confirmation of what many perceive: the Church is not living all that she is called to be. It is both hopeful and a good news that the Church can be much more than what it is today. It is exciting to think that the reality of the Church can be much greater that what we have experienced so far.
The situation of the Church today calls each and everyone of us to reflect how am I personally living my Christian faith. The radical proposal is to love God with all our heart, mind and soul. The counter cultural move is to put God above all things. As Bishop Barron has commented, young people think it is daring and radical to have tattoos and color your hair. That is nothing, it is simply following the crowd, compared to the radical life of living completely for God. We are invited to take part in a great adventure.
We are living in the times which make great Saints. God is in control of history and is purifying the Church so that it can shine with greater brightness. God is also purifying each one of us so that we love God with all our heart. As Saint Augustine commented, “Our heart is restless, until it rests in God.” We can love other things which are not God: money, popularity, pleasure, our plans and ideas, other people or ourselves, but other idols will simply leave us disappointed. God is the creator of all things; He alone can give us the life, happiness, and the fulfillment for which we are searching.
If we reflect on our lives, the times in which we were truly joyful has been the times when we have cooperated with the will of God. We can trust God; He loves us as we are and created us to be happy. The desire of any Father is to see his children joyful. The more we put God first, the more we are free to grow into our true selves. Our identity can only be found in God. Outside of God there is loneliness, despair, frustration, darkness and death.
God is acting in new ways. Mary is working, preparing an army for the times into which we are entering. Let us allow them to shape and prepare us for what they know is coming. They need our free will to allow them to more easily form us. There is no better alternative. Trying to be God of my life has been disastrous for me and others. The wisdom of the world looks promising but always disappoints.
The world is waiting to see what the Church is supposed to be. The world wants to see children of God living in a radically different way. Let us offer ourselves to God, giving Him permission to take our lives and to do with them as He sees best.