In last week’s readings, St. Paul says “Watch carefully how you live, because the days are evil.” These past 2 weeks with the headlines about the clergy and sexual abuse is a sure sign of evil here on earth. Innocent children have been scarred for life by someone they trusted and their families trusted. I am angry. I’m ashamed & hurt, I’m full of sorrow, I feel betrayed & my heart aches for the abused. I’m sure many of you have these same feelings. But, I’m also so thankful & grateful for all of you, the faithful for being here today. We need to pray for those who have been abused, that these innocent victims find relief and some comfort of heart in the fact that their knowledge is now public. & for the holy priests that I suspect feel betrayed as well. However ugly this is, I can’t think anything uglier, we are better off to be in a position of truth than with all the lies and deceit of the past.
A couple of thoughts.
1. We need to do away with Clericalism. Pope Francis has been pleading for this since he become pope. Clericalism is that mentally that somehow I am better than you because I was in ordained ministry. We have put ordained deacons & priests on a pedestal & we are different. And it is clericalism that gave birth to all this. We are no better than anyone in this room. We simply have different roles to play. As you to have a role to play in the church.
2. If there were more women in leadership roles in the church this would have never happened. You wouldn’t have tolerated it for a minute & same would be true if more laity in positions of leadership.
3. Everything has to change. I can assure you that things in our diocese of Columbus has changed with Bishop Campbell. In the bulletin this week is a letter from Bishop Campbell stating how he has addressed this issue and made changes. Please take bulletin home and read & study it.
4. This week one of our patients die one morning and I call the spouse who was the primary caregiver and took care of her at their home asked me to stop by that same day. As I entered the home and offered my condolences he thanked me and we sat down. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “The Lord knows what he is doing! The Lord placed you in this place and time to do his work. Keep doing what God has called you to do!” I say this same this to all you present, “The Lord knows what he is doing! The Lord placed you in this place and time to do his work. Keep doing what God has called you to do!”
5. Pope Francis calls us to move from a pastoral plan of self-preservation to one of intense missionary activity, capable of meeting the deepest needs of the human heart. This means for all of us we are to pray for the victims, our clergy, as we all know good priests & deacons, and that the church repents & for ourselves who in some way feel guilty by association.
6. We must not lose Hope! Jesus didn’t, it was his relationship with the Father & Holy Spirit that guided him to rise above challenges and difficulties his life. He won, and that means we win. We are to follow his example.
7. Here at Holy Trinity the last 6 months the parish staff along with several parishioners were working on a change to focus on our role as servants leaders of missionary activities in our community like Jesus who gave his life to the service of others. Result is what each family received from our greeters Holy Trinity Ministry Guide. Remember our spiritual gifts will increase with use. Love, compassion, joy, will grow as you let them flow.
In the example of Jesus in the scriptures that we follow give us a guideline on our journey of faith.