|If we listen and heed St. John the Baptist, we truly will be able to rejoice despite|
the desert our bishops have made of the Church in the United States!
Nabi Sayeth: The third Sunday of Advent in our beloved Catholic Church is known traditionally as “Gaudete Sunday”, the Sunday of rejoicing. The mood of the holy mass shifts from one of open-ended hope to a sense of joyful expectation. The prayers and readings at the holy mass invite us to become excited about the nearness of Our Savior’s birth.
Saint Luke’s recording of the ministry of John the Baptist is important to us as we prepare to receive in our lives the gift of our Messiah and Lord. With his sharpened prophetic tongue, John the Baptist calls a large crowd of would-be repenters to do a deep-dive examination of their hearts....
7 He said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance; and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
9 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”
11 He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
14 Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”The crowds, including the traitorous tax-collectors and and Jewish soldiers, after being shamefully designated by John as a “brood of vipers...fleeing from the coming wrath” want to be rescued, and, therefore, are willing to accept any medicine that he might offer.
Having been humbled by John’s scathing indictments against them they unabashedly ask, “What should we do?” Even those with power and authority over the common man feel desperate enough to ask.
John’s response to each group’s question is tailor-made:
To the crowds....stop being stingy, give generously to those in need
To the dishonest, cheating tax collectors....be honestJohn’s response to each group serves as a life line, a way that, if followed, could lead them to salvation.
To the power wielding soldiers....treat others with the same respect as you would want to be treated....
But what I find most intriguing is that even the powerful of John’s day have become so humbled by the awareness of their sins that they are willing to ask the difficult question.
As I prayerfully reflect upon this Scripture, my mind is spinning as I ponder the relevance it has for the painful scandal in our Church.
Would that the members of the hierarchy could see themselves in need of “going to see John.” What if they could get to the point that after their many failed attempts to address the scandal they would become humble enough to ask , “What should we do?”
It seems that the youngest bishop in the country is perhaps getting there....
|Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, born in 1968, was|
ordained a bishop in early 2018.
The shepherd of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, made this argument in an open letter to his flock following the U.S. bishops’ general assembly in Baltimore last month, telling them the U.S. Catholic bishops as a group had shown themselves there as “too insular” and “ineffectual” at addressing the abuse of power by bishops.
And, Bishop McKnight said, the presence and participation in Baltimore of retired bishops who were notorious for covering up clerical sexual abuse demonstrated “episcopal arrogance and clericalism” and was “a slap in the face to all who have been wounded by the clergy.”
(Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register. 12/7/18)
Nabi Sayeth: The hierarchy have proposed many plans for repairing the damage they have caused to the Catholic Church but in the process they have proven themselves to be shamefully incompetent. As the result, trust has been broken with the laity. When will they realize that they are powerless and then become humble enough to seek help? Perhaps it’s time that they humbly turn to the laity and ask, “What should we do?”
Perhaps the mitered ones should take to heart the words of a former bishop of Geneva......
“The King of Glory does not reward His servants according to the dignity of their office, but according to the humility and love with which they have exercised it.”
― St. Francis de Sales