“The Scandal: You are the Church” 20B
Prov. 9: 1-6 / Eph 5:15-20 / John 6:51-58
READ Bishop John’s Letter
I am sure that many of you are reeling from
the recent revelations concerning the Church—
I know I sure am.
I had similar painful and embarrassing
emotions in 2002 when the scandal first broke.
I was in the seminary at the time—
and I almost left.
One of the main things that made me
consider leaving the seminary—
was that during that time—
I found myself embarrassed to be
around or even call my parents.
Both of them are God-fearing Protestants
who had worked hard their whole life to
put me through medical school.
And I was leaving medicine for this?!?!?
I would like to think that it was
God’s grace that kept me in the seminary.
And over the past week or so—
I’ve had those same feelings—
I’ve hesitated to call my parents or
hang out with my Protestant friends.
And I worry about my dad—
who can’t brag about his son with
his breakfast buddies at McDonalds
because I’m a priest.
So now—just like it was in 2002—
I’ve wondered if I should quit—
just go back to being a Protestant.
Well, every time that thought enters my head—
the Gospel passage from John that
we’ve been reading in recent Masses—
the Bread of Life Discourse—
keeps popping in my head.
In the Bread of Life discourse—
Jesus’ followers started to quarrel among themselves.
They had been so impressed with Jesus
when he had multiplied the loaves and the fishes—
when He fed everybody—
but now there was an outright revolt.
And who could blame them!
They were revolting because
Jesus had called Himself “the Bread of Life”—
and He told them that they had to eat His flesh—
that they had to drink His blood—
and if they did—
they would live forever.
Of course, they were revolting against Jesus!
Jesus’ remarks sound so crazy!
They were shocking and offensive.
Jews as cannibals?
Jews drinking blood?
That was blasphemy.
No Jew in their right mind would think
they could drink the blood of any animal—
much less human blood.
As a matter of fact,
we know that the reaction to what Jesus
was saying about eating His flesh and drinking His Blood
was so negative—
that a great number of his disciples left Him—
they abandoned Him.
And as they were leaving—
Jesus turns to the twelve apostles—
and asks them,
“are you going to leave me too?”
And Peter turns to Jesus and says
“Master, to whom shall we go?”
“Master to whom shall we go?”
Those are the words that keep popping in my head—
Those words of Peter have echoed in
my head thousands of time.
“Master, to whom else would I go?”
That’s why I always preach about Jesus—
That’s why, no matter what is happening,
I try to stay focused on Jesus—
And focus you on Jesus too.
I am convinced—
that the Church that Jesus
started is the Roman Catholic Church.
In all of it sinfulness . . .
and in all of its greatness.
In all of its humanity . . .
and in all of its divinity.
In all of it shortcomings—
and in all of the ways that the Church has
been Jesus to me and
to the whole world throughout the centuries.
I remind myself,
this is a Church of great sinners—
and this is a Church of great saints.
So am I going to leave?
Do I think you should leave?
Do I blame anyone for leaving?
No to that too!
The Pope recently said that it’s not
enough for Catholics to not do bad things—
we must confront evil—
and fight it—
with the grace of God on our side.
The Pope said if we do not oppose evil,
then we feed it.
So am I going to leave—
Am I going to disengage—
I really don’t think it’s the time for that.
That’s what the evil one wants.
So I’m going to try to engage even more.
Try to be a better priest—
Try to be a better representation of Catholicism—
Try to be Jesus to the world—
And to confront evil—
especially if that evil exists in the Church.
And I am asking you to consider doing the same.
Don’t disengage from the Church—
You are the Church!!!
Be the face of the Church!!!
Next week is Sign up Sunday.
It’s a tough time for me and the staff to
ask you to sign up for ministries in our parish—
to ask you to support the Church—
but in some ways it’s perfect timing.
I am asking you to sign up to support this parish—
to support our Church.
And this is the first weekend that our students
you are the Church too.
Be Jesus to the world—
Be the face of Catholicism on campus!!!
This parish is here for you—
to help you grow in your faith—
to help you encounter this Jesus who
loves you infinitely—
to encounter this Jesus who has
such incredible plans for you.
This is a great parish—
with great people
who are here to support you—
who will care for you!!!
We’re all glad you’re here—
We want this to be your home away from home.
A couple of weeks ago—
a friend asked me to go to a
Sunday Protestant service with him.
It’s the first time I’ve been to a Protestant service,
other than a wedding or a funeral,
since I converted to Catholicism 21 years ago.
And I have to tell you it was a great experience—
the preaching was phenomenal—
the videos and the message boards were impressive—
they had a 10-person rock band with a light show
that would rival some concerts that I’ve been too.
But as wonderful as it was—
I left with a feeling that something was missing—
Something was incomplete.
And as I reflected on it—
I knew it was the Eucharist—
The Bread of Life—
The Body and Blood of Jesus—
That’s why I can’t leave—
Even when I want to.
I’ll end with the words of Peter that
keep playing over and over and over in my head
when Jesus asked the twelve if
they were going to leave him.
Peter’s words are my words—
And I hope they’re your words too:
“Master to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe—
We are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
is not in any human being—
no matter what their position.
is in Jesus Christ.
Holy Spirit 08/19-20/2018