Quinquagesima Sunday 26.2.17 Human side of Church
Peter opposes Our Lord in His plan to allow Himself to be crucified. Human wisdom is seen to be deficient as against the Divine Wisdom which sees all things. Humanity, in general, gets a lot of things wrong. It is only when humanity is coupled with divinity that it can operate properly.
Many have left the Church, or refused to join it, because of such human faults eg lack of charity, sexual sins, hypocrisy…
But to judge the Church only on the human side is a mistake.
The Church is the Body of Christ and He is its Head. The Church has Our Lady as Mother, and she is also a member of the Church.
If we look at the Head of the Church we see miracle upon miracle, and total love and goodwill operating. Look at the Holy Family, the saints – and we see order, peace and every good quality.
If we look at some of the members of the Church we see selfishness, scandal, fighting, unforgiveness etc etc.
It is easy to see why people would want to leave the Church if we see only the faults.
But we must see the whole picture. The Church is instituted to make humans share in the divine; so that we can rise above our faults and gradually be Christ-ianised, made copies of Jesus Christ Himself.
There will be a lot of ugliness evident in the meantime but we are processing to the final stage. It is like a building site where all looks chaotic now but will eventually be a nice straight building with gardens and pathways. So the Church is in process of becoming the perfect Bride of Christ, the City of God.
We, who are still in the Church, have two tasks.
One is to remain faithful. We do not allow any negative experience to cause us to leave the Church or lose our faith. We do not always know why God allows certain things, but we entrust the government of His Church to Himself, and keep our own place within it.
Nothing is improved by jumping ship. Better to stop the ship from sinking.
Two, we must try to improve our own humanity. We may be human but we do not have to be hopeless! We can improve with a little application and lots of grace.
God knows we are human; and He even knows what that is like, because He has taken on human nature.
But when joined with the divine we see that humanity can be freed from its usual failings and reach greater heights.
This is exactly the idea of the Incarnation and what it means for all humanity.
Some suggest that we make the Church’s commands easier, so that we have more chance of keeping them. This is an appeal to the Church to be more ‘human’.
It is really a selling short of what humanity can achieve. God the Son did not become human so that we would continue to wallow in our sins; and then try to say that they are not sins anyway!
He came that we may have life and have it to the full (Jn 10,10). This means that our human nature would be perfected by contact with the divine; and that the whole Church would be a place of intense holiness.
Much better than making the rules easier would be to keep the rules as they are, and live by them, with divine grace acting in us (which is what sacraments enable).
The rules - at least the most important ones – are divinely instituted so we are not free to change them anyway.
We hold firm, to our beliefs, and our hope. We improve the human, at least for ourselves, and we hope the same for others.
We see the divine, and this helps us cope with the human.
All the while the Lord forms us to be His Bride.