The first schism in the Church occurred before the eyes of Jesus: two disciples against ten and ten against two (Mk 10:35-41). The reason for the dispute: not a theological discussion or the rejection of some dogma, but the eagerness for power, the competition for the first places. It was the beginning of a painful history of ecclesial divisions and conflicts, always determined by petty rivalries.
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The insatiable covetousness of gold, the greed for goods, the idolatry of money cause worry, restlessness, and anxiety. They take away one's breath and make life impossible, but they are still considered goals for which it is worth living. Everything you touch—your profession, scientific research, friendships, family, and sometimes religion itself—is valued... if it produces gold. That's the madness.
In no other field, as in that of sexual ethics, is a person tempted to give himself his morality, and so the salt of the evangelicaIt is necessary to "become like children" to enter the kingdom of heaven, to understand the difficult, demanding proposal of Christ. Only those who feel small, who believe in the love of the Father and trust him, are in the proper disposition to welcome God's thoughts.
Those words – “Reflect on your ways!” – are challenging because today, in Europe, we Christians can be tempted to remain comfortably ensconced in our structures, our homes and our churches, in the security provided by our traditions, content with a certain degree of consensus, while all around us churches are emptying and Jesus is increasingly forgotten.
It is not always easy to distinguish friends from enemies; sometimes we are deceived: the most trusted person, the one chosen as a confidant, may one day betray us, while the one we kept under control because we judged him dangerous, in the end, may turn out to be the most loyal companion. How do we understand who is with us and who is against us? At certain moments, Christians feel that they are walking alone along the straight path traced out by Christ, and they are seized by discouragement.
Bishop Alan Hopes has written a Pastoral Letter to everyone across the Diocese of East Anglia to mark the start of the worldwide Synodal Church process – in which the least as well as the greatest has the opportunity to be heard.
The development of the laity to play a constructive part in this synodal process should be a major priority. Its reference to participation is modelled exclusively on church worship, and the sharing of the Eucharist. There needs to be some recognition that the listening needs to be deep and sustained. Synodality is a process rather than a product; it speaks to a vision of a permanent dialogue between the constituent parts of the Church.
Should one seek God in solitude or in human relationships? It is widely accepted that both ways are valid. With regard to solitude, think of the anchorites of the early Christian era; with regard to human relationships, think of the worker priests of the 20th century. Or we can think of St. Thérèse of Lisieux as a model for contemplation and St. Francis Xavier as a model for action.
Once in Capernaum, the Master asks them, "What were you discussing on the way?" (v. 33). His is not a question but an accusation. He is aware of the heated dispute in which all got involved during the journey.
The disciples are silent, they feel exposed, ashamed. They realize that they have committed something senseless. They know that, on the subject of seeking the first places, the Master does not agree and always speaks firmly.
The US bishops’ decision to draw up a document expected to disapprove of allowing Joe Biden to receive the sacraments is seen by some as an attack on a Democrat President. But a theologian argues that behind it is an attempt to address a crisis of eucharistic faith in American Catholicism.