Aaaaahhhh… such a sweet smell to the King of the Orcs, Azog the Defiler. Fear. It is the the unholy sacrifice of our belief in the Lord who commands us not to fear. When we bow to fear we choose enslavement. Why do we choose to abandon our noble hope and faith just to settle for despair, doubt, and a path well-traveled? In abject contrast to satisfying fragrance to a demagogue of fear, like Azog, is the trusting prayers that waft up basting the Heavens with a fearless fragrance – irresistible to the One who makes all things new. My thoughts today are really a request to engage your help to encourage these burdened under-shepherds of the cloth to remember those who previously carried this torch of the Gospel to their doorstep without regret or fear. Presently, the message of the Gospel is being crowded out by what people want and not so much what they need. Ironically, the “Good News” carries quite a shadow of hate. If there is a timelessness to human culture it presides through the intoxicating effects of people praise. Hence the success of Hollywood and even our latest president-elect. However, when Jesus mentioned He and G-d were one, well… yeah, a whole lot of that stuff hit the fan. As the fan coughs to a sputtering stop, we quickly surmise the cost of spreading this type of “good news.” If this God-man, Christ wasn’t necessary then the Gospel would be a no-brainer and an absolute joy to contemplate every minute of the day. It would be like….incessant prayer. Unfortunately, the Father sent His only begotten to complete His will, His Torah for His chosen, who was unfortunately welcomed eventually by crucifixion. Don’t be fooled that Christianity has no cost. It actually costs as much as someone love without fear of any consequence. No regrets.
Nevertheless, my soul feels a disturbing dread and an unwillingness of these priests and pastors to behave in the freedom of fearlessness. I covet your prayers to lift those truly called to rise up. I am also praying that those seeking a comfortable career in the non-profit, business sector of motivational speaking to please step down. Although the cost is everything to walk the path of discipleship, the yoke is light when inspired by love. For those who have found their niche in gospel entertainment there is a price to be paid; a wrath beyond our imaginations. We must be active and gently encourage both those stepping up and stepping down through face to face conversation. We must lovingly convince those called to teach please to remember scripture is a portion of God’s will to manifest in our reality. If fear is an option then the pulpit is not.
For the Catholic priests: Passionately ordained to consecrate the paschal sacrifice, the summit of their sacramental Everest, do you truly believe in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine? Is there a wedge of fear that separates you from entering into this intimate Trinity completely naked? Would there be any hesitation from protecting the very sheep you have been called to feed? When Christ inquires,”Do you love Me?” is your answer a fearless ‘yes’ to protect the sheep you see on Sunday.
For Pastors: Your passion for social justice finds the Christ in the oppressed and marginalized. Have you forgotten the needful protest of your Protestant heritage? Would you seek out that one lost sheep?
Last year, 2016, was a year of silence.
When the humiliating parade of misogynistic commercials filled the ears of children, I stared at my Rosary in disbelief. I wept at the utter desolation at how her Son must have felt about those raising His body in consecration. Surely her adoring son yells, “Flesh of my flesh!” – yet somehow He is not surprised. After all we’re humans . Right? You allow yourself to be called ‘Father.” I am a father to a daughter and a husband to a wife, both temples Christ is patiently rebuilding while their walls are vandalized in vitriol. What about the pedophilia scandal and its complete absence from every pulpit? What ‘Father” on this beautifully , blue orb would remain silent? Why has fear woven a cloak of complicity and secrecy of hiding predators feasting on innocent children? Pastors, what about your bride’s reaction as you talked quietly at night. Furthermore, how could one not be consumed with zeal to protect one’s very spouse while trying to communicate the mysterious vision of a “Bride” for Christ? If misogyny is met with silence then what to make of the teaching on the mount where name calling is equal to murder? Why then was your voice not being raised outside of your safe, holy bubble on Sunday? Do you hear now the words begged Simon; “Do you love Me?” Do you then feed your sheep by example or the slop of “mere Christianity?”
Let us pray to support our priests and pastors during these difficult times and gently encourage them to discern their meaning and application of leadership along with unhesitating protection of the flock.