We are the Body of Christ

August 26, 2018

Given the recent grand jury report of abuse and cover-up in the Pennsylvania dioceses, it is natural to feel anger, embarrassment, frustration and sadness.  As St. Paul writes in Romans 5:20: “…where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.”  It is at this time that we need to pray for the Church, for the victims and their families, and for God’s guidance to be become the solution. 

We are the Body of Christ; we are connected to each other.  We are identified with the Body and are affected by it.  Many of us will have family members, friends and co-workers use this scandal to ridicule our Catholic identity and faith.  Without being defensive, acknowledge the issue and offer an apology and prayers for all victims.  Ask for prayers for the healing of the victims and the Church.

Being connected and united in the person of Jesus Christ, we need to turn to Him, the center of our faith.  Through the Eucharist, Jesus is “with us always.”  And as we are affected, Jesus is also affected.  Therefore, we need to come to him in prayer to ask for forgiveness, mercy, wisdom and strength for the endurance to overcome this tribulation so that we may continue his mission on earth. 

I am reminded of the first reading we heard recently from I Kings.  The prophet Elijah was fleeing for his life from the pagan queen Jezebel.  Elijah feared that God was not protecting him from her.  He became exhausted and gave up.  This is when God gave him the “food for the journey” to continue to the mountain of God.  That food for the journey comes from heaven.  We know from the Gospel readings these past four Sundays that the bread that comes down from heaven is Jesus, the food for our journey to the mountain of God. The journey is tough, which is why we need Divine sustenance.

God reveals to us that, despite our many tribulations, He is always with us, leading us to where we need to go.  And at the crucial moment, He will intervene, providing food from heaven, to strengthen us.  Like Elijah, we may feel exhausted and want to give up, but we should go to Jesus, the Bread of Life, to gain strength for the journey. 

During a frustrating argument with Ercole Consalvi, a Roman Catholic cardinal, Napoleon burst out: “Your eminence, are you not aware that I have the power to destroy the Catholic Church?” Cardinal Consalvi responded ruefully: “Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.”

“The gates of netherworld shall not prevail against it,” Jesus promised us. Let us trust and hope in him. 


Kathryn Richards