Come on Jesus, Get Real!
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Luke chapter 6 verse 27

In Luke's Gospel, chapter 6: verse 27ff, Jesus insists that we must learn to love our enemies, to go out of our way to be friendly with those who plainly dislike us, to be generous toward those who would steal from us, and, to top it off, to seek neither redress for harm done to us nor reward for good done by us.

Surely this is unreasonable. Anyone following these rules would be eaten alive by the rest of society. Are we not tempted to cry out: "meaning no disrespect, but, come on Jesus, get with it!"

Is Jesus out of touch with the real world, with His Creation? No! You see, Jesus is God and God often acts "irrationally." Think about it: He forgave murderers, treated Judas with respect, entrusted His flock to a cowardly Peter, remained silent and refused to defend Himself when struck, spat upon and falsely accused.

Jesus has "earned" the right to ask us to love and to act irrationally because He has given us His Spirit. He knows our capabilities. He alone knows what He can accomplish through us. Remember we Christians are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be society's leaven, not its mirror. Thus Jesus' expectations are challenging, but since He empowers us to meet them, they can never be said to be unrealistic.

And what of His Teaching Church? How often I have heard it said: "If the Church doesn't wake up and get with it, it won't last much longer!"

Without a doubt and especially in the light of centuries past, the Church can be said to have been wrong in some of its attitudes and judgements. The fact is that Popes and other Church leaders can be quite fallible when it comes to the interpretation of goodness and truth. To deny this would be to deny history.

The frequently misunderstood charism of infallibility is very limited in scope and application. It relates only to the interpretation of Revelation. Revelation is the self-disclosure of God and is considered to have reached completion upon the death of the last Apostle. This deposit of Faith is to be found in the Scriptures and in the unwritten but lived traditions of the early Church. An infallible statement is, then, always a clarification or restatement of something particular to these sources.

And so, on a day-to-day basis, our fallible leadership can certainly make mistakes; but the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding continues to dwell among them in a unique manner. Therefore, before we vociferously disagree with them we had best check our own credentials and motives. This is especially true when it comes to sensitive and complex areas such as the absolute sacredness of human life in all of its stages; the indissolubility of a valid marriage; and the priesthood as currently composed and structured.

All of which brings us back to the Church, not unlike Jesus Himself, being called upon to wake up to some people's perception of reality and to get in step with it. Well, let me simply remind you that whatever the faults and blind spots of its leadership and regardless of our stubborn deafness, this Church of ours is still the Body of Christ which, I suggest, is a far better situation than being with "IT"...whatever "IT" happens to be at any given time.

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