Fourth Sunday of Lent
Over the years, on multiple occasions, and for any number of reasons…some baseless, others valid…I have heard “detractors” of the Roman Catholic Church use this Sunday’s Gospel (John 2:13-25) to support the comment: Clean your own house before you start telling other people how to live. And with that, they simply wipe away a rich tradition of social justice teaching which, if observed, would make this world a better and safer place for everyone…Catholic or not…detractor and supporter alike…believer and non-believer…to live. How tragic.
One of the foundational teachings of our Church is that the original sin has left all human beings vulnerable to poor choices, bad decisions, dark feelings, and sin. It isn’t an excuse; it is reality. All humankind struggle with PTSD…POST TRAUMATIC SIN DISORDER. Catholic Social Justice Teaching readily acknowledges that to be true. And so, we embrace with gratitude and relief that which our Creator has revealed about the Divine Self. God is slow to anger and quick to forgive.
Moreover, we are eternally grateful to the Son of God for leaving us Sacraments that continue to do what He did on that day in the Temple area. Through the Sacraments of the Church, The Lord continues to cleanse us, heal us, and strengthen us so that we are better able to resist those inclinations that make us less than we were created to be. After all, Jesus did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well. And so, after returning to The Father, The Son sent us The Holy Spirit.
We are encouraged to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance when we are discerning what is right and just and true. The Spirit enlightens us to what needs cleansing and healing. The Spirit is eager to fill us with the strength of God’s grace to overpower those inclinations that cloud our good judgment and turn us in the wrong direction.
Over the years, on multiple occasions, when listening to “detractors” voice criticisms of our Church…some valid…some baseless…I have always replied: We acknowledge our sins! We admit to our sinful nature. That is exactly why we embrace the penitential season of Lent. We know we need to “clean house” in order to properly celebrate the Good News of Easter morning: CHRIST IS RISEN!
Christ HAS died…for the forgiveness of all of our sins. Christ IS RISEN…and invites us to join in eternal life. Christ WILL come again. But while we wait, we continue to prepare. And we will not be detruded from our work of proclaiming the Good News. The Good News overpowers those voices of darkness that try to shake our faith in God’s unconditional mercy and love.