Sadly, again, I had worked on this homily before the most recent news regarding the sexual abuse scandal regarding the former Archbishop of Newark Theodore McCarrick, broke Saturday (with him resigning as a Cardinal) As you’ll see, this scandal still is very much on my heart and mind and is therefore a part of my preaching. Much like it was hard not to discuss 9/11 for days, weeks and months after that horrific event, this horrific scandal is weighing just as heavily. But I apologize if this homily doesn’t go far enough or take into full account where we are with all of this news.
The magnitude of all of this is taking a lot of time to digest. As a priest, my first responsibility is to pray… and to pray first and foremost for all the victims. That’s what’s been most on my mind these last weeks – those who were not listened too, those who thought they had no voice, those who were not only abused physically, emotionally, mentally – but spiritually as well. The feelings of anger, shame, embarrassment that some in the Church that I love and have given my life to could have done such things – and been protected by others have been difficult feelings to navigate. I know that I’m also called to pray for Archbishop McCarrick and other perpetrators of these scandals. In all honesty I’m not there yet… That’s going to take a lot more time for me to be able to do. My previous post on all of this seems a bit dated now and hopefully in time, I’ll be able to put some newer thoughts together – but here is the link to that initial post:
In the meantime, thanks as always for reading; sharing this blog on your social media sites; and your feedback and comments. I appreciate it – Fr Jim
Lets think about the scene again: Here is this large crowd coming to Jesus. Why – because they had already heard and seen and experienced Jesus healing the sick (that was the first line “a large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.”) As word spread of people being cured of these diseases and restored to health – that not only were their physical ailments relieved; but the personal psychological and mental anguish those illnesses caused had been healed as well – that has caused this massive buzz to see Jesus. But with this buzz, with this crowd, there’s a problem – the people were hungry. Jesus looks to his closest guys – his apostles asking what do you think we should do?
Which is the other even more important point for all of us today – a truth that we have to really fight hard to protect and maintain – and that is the precious gift of faith. There’s an avalanche of reasons to give into despair, to doubt, to give up. Yet, not just in this gospel story, but deep within each of our stories as well – in the details, sometimes forgotten after we’ve made up our own headlines – we can find instances of selfless, sacrificial love that helped bring healing to some tragedy we were facing; we can recall others who laid down their lives to care for us in a moment of trial; we can remember how the gift of forgiveness was able to transform a relationship. It’s important for us to let those memories be a source of constant renewal – constant reminder of how the Lord is active, is attentive, is victorious even in the face of things that leave us shaken and if not worse.