Friday, September 7, 2018

23rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year B On Clergy Scandal

Readings: Isaiah 35:4-7; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37

" It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed." These wise words of Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century are still valid today as we face the most vicious scandal in the Church today. Last Sunday, as Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Archbishop of Washington, D.C.) addressed the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, he asked parishioners to pray for Pope Francis as he deals with the problem. A man stood up and yelled “Shame on you!” and then walked out. A woman who was present at that Mass was interviewed on Fox News on Monday night, and expressed her anger on how deeply hurt she had been because of the clergy abuse scandal and cover up. At the end of the interview she was asked, “are you then going to leave the Church?” She said, “Oh no, I am a committed Catholic, and intend to remain in my Church.” 

If you do not believe that the devil exists, think twice! “Satan is dancing with great joy!” as Bishop Larry Silva says in the opening paragraph of the letter addressed to the clergy, religious and all parishioners in the Diocese of Honolulu regarding recent allegations of clergy abuse of minors. This letter of August 24, 2018 may be found on the Diocese of Honolulu website: A copy of Bishop Larry’s letter is inserted in the bulletin of this Sunday. 

Bishop Robert Barron recently called the present crisis “a diabolical mastermind.” The devil has indeed come up with a plan to destroy the Church, by misleading some clergy to sexually abuse minors 

Even as we struggle to find solutions for this crisis, the readings of this Sunday could give us some hope. The Israelite leaders, prophets and priests had misled the people into the worship of pagan gods. Consequently, God let then fall into the hands of the Babylonians who took them into exile. The First reading from the prophet Isaiah announces better times to come, when God will transform their situation symbolized by the healing of the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the dumb. This vision of Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus who in the Gospel heals a deaf and dumb person with the power of one word in Aramaic “Ephphatha” (be opened).

I think the readings raise up our hopes in the midst of a serious scandal and breach of trust by some members of the clergy including high ranking leaders in the Church.
I am truly ashamed of my own Church, but I remain hopeful that our deafness and dumbness will eventually be healed. Thank you for being here. It gives me great hope in the midst of this crisis. It reminds me of our Lord’s promise: “Behold I am with you always till the end of the world.” (Mt 28:20) That’s why you and I are still here today; that is why I am here to give you hope and encouragement in this time of crisis and a sense of direction in time of confusion. “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy!”

@2018 John S. Mbinda

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