Commentary on the Gospel of
In today’s readings we see Paul writing to the Corinthians about injustice, judgment, and belonging to the Kingdom of God. In the responsorial psalm, we are reminded that God takes great delight in the created, in us. In the Alleluia, we are told to bear fruit that will last, to do work that will bring about the Kingdom. Finally, the Gospel today is Jesus choosing his closest companions. He calls them by name to something greater, to walk alongside him, and to do the work of God. It is taught that the apostles become the first leaders to be missioned in the ways we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders today. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1536-1600)
I come to these readings from the reality of our time, at least the very palpable experience of being Catholic in the United States right now. In mid-August a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report exposing over 70 years of abuse in six dioceses – involving over 300 priests and 1,000 victims. The report is horrifying, awful, and far from the reality of Love we experience in relationship with God and Jesus. I imagine God has to be horrified, saddened, and angry over this too.
Whenever I bring this Gospel reading into my ministry with college students, I always emphasize that Jesus calls a person by name to be a part of something greater. By being a part of something greater, there is responsibility to be active and creative in the call to serve –think of all the various ways the apostles and disciples creatively reacted to the new way Jesus was calling them to serve their neighbors. More often than not it was radical and not always very easy.
In a time like this when I feel sad and angry about the choices of others in this community of faith, I am reminded of my own call. Jesus has called me – “Beth!” to be an agent of God’s divine Love in this world. This Love requires my responsibility to be an active and creative member of this community of faith by showing Love to my neighbors and, out of Love, calling attention to abuse, injustice, and corruption of power.
We are each called, by name, to be active and creative members of this community of faith. And right now, it may be difficult and confusing for some of us to know how to do that in face of horrendous abuse by those our Church has sacramentally ordained. Our call now to be active and creative (in ways the apostles also had to be) is more important than ever.