Fr Bob Writes – June 17, 2018

Fr Bob writes: Pope John XXIII, it is said, was having a restless night shortly after being elected pope. The concerns of the church and decisions to be made were pressing upon him. And so he turned fitfully from side to side. Finally he verbalized his sentiments. “Listen, Lord, this church is yours, not mine. I’m going to sleep.” And, as he said, he fell quickly asleep.

We all have moments when we wonder if it is all worth it. In a single lifetime, we have all met people who were deeply upset because the church veered too far to the left and then those who were equally disturbed when it went to the right. The church is ultimately Christ’s, as today’s liturgy teaches clearly, and he will see it through the storm. The early Christians also had trying times. They saw some of their earliest enthusiasts fall away in the course of time. Others started well but soon got detoured. It is enough to read the parable of the sower and the seed that fell along the path. Things were not all encouraging but Christianity survived.

The church is stronger than all the people who try to make it or unmake it, because it is in God’s hands, and God is at the helm. Yes, the church has its share of humanness. But with all its warts, it is still a beacon and a great source of strength. And how often things turn out better than we thought. Just when we felt that walls were crashing down around us, the lay people in the church emerged with a vitality and sense of ownership not previously imagined. Even while we sleep, God’s reign is growing, as our gospel parable today reminds us. And so we do not lose heart.

Fr Bob Writes – June 10, 2018

One of the major differences between the Bible and modern society is that the Bible takes evil seriously. Biblical faith sees evil as an independent force in conflict with the interests of God. It makes its appearance in Genesis and continues through to the book of Revelation. A low point in Jesus’ ministry occurs with this Sunday’s gospel reading, when his opponents accused him of being an instrument of Satan. Their reason probably rested on his willingness to bypass Jewish law on many occasions in the interests of his mission. It is clear from Jesus’ speech, as well as that of his enemies, that evil was so real that one stood on one side or the other, with Christ or with the evil one. There is room for discussion about the nature of evil. But to say that it is simply a human construct flies in the face of biblical teaching.

Evil is yet to be finally vanquished. What Christ accomplished is still to be actualized in our lives. Evil is overcome by those who are brothers and sisters of Jesus, those who take his word to heart and live it. Evil exists. Its emergence in modern times in the form of the holocaust and Rwanda massacres, and Isis atrocities , among others,  speaks for itself. But it comes in many lesser forms. To do battle with evil is to live the Christian message each day. Conversions are just as real as is evil. Christ is still binding the strong man. A good beginning is to acknowledge evil, then take issue with it.  The battle lines are clearly drawn, but the resources are there as well. It is the force of good that overcomes evil.