Bishop’s Letter: Pause and right set our path toward God

Aug 24, 2023

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ: In the Scripture for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, St. Paul sums up how our daily living should be — to live as all things are from God and through Him and for Him are all things. Everything about us should be about God. We begin our day in thanksgiving for the gift of our life offered to us from God and we return to Him our entire being, in all moments of our time on this earth. As I read this Scripture, we are placed in the midst of the heavens. For if we all lived as St. Paul exhorts, our time on earth would be a heavenly experience.

Most of us would say that our experience on this earth is not necessarily heavenly. So, what is lacking? Jesus asks of the disciples a very simple question: “Who do you, My closest friends, say that I am?” He wants to make sure they understand the unified relationship He has with the Father. St. Peter, without any guile, boldly replies with his profession of faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” St. Peter, as Jesus would say in our everyday language, “gets it!” Every time we profess our faith, we also profess that we “get it.” So, what is lacking? Or perhaps I should ask, what continues to keep us separated from God?

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we hear the proclamation of God’s Truth. We read Scripture and learn of the failings of the people of God in following His Truth. Yet, God always calls us to Him; never abandoning us for our lacking. It is we who choose to not seek Him.

Recently, I read an article by Jesuit Father Bill McCormick, who asks, “How can we sustain a society that proclaims truths in some corners but in others denies its very possibility?” Perhaps it is the difference between a lower case and upper case and a plural vs singular. For the truths to which he refers are manmade; the Truth to whom God refers is God Himself. Father McCormick writes, “all people of good will need to do what they can where they are and with their gifts to rebuild the credibility of Truth.” Father McCormick speaks to the politicizing of our society and the divisions that exist because of our misguided path to other gods. He notes, “Politically, we can recover from this moment. But spiritually, it is not clear that we want to.”

Today, there is so much discord within our world, discord between one another. We cannot be a Eucharist if we do not seek unity through, with and in God. We are called not to love one another because of our politics, or because of our sameness, or any other reason. We are called to love one another as we are of God, made for God to live with God. St. Paul tells us that both Jew and Gentile, despite the religious recalcitrance of each, have received the gift of faith. The methods used by God in making this outreach to the world stagger our ability to understand. At the same time, He offers us this luminous invitation to abiding faith.

Who are you following? During this time of Eucharistic Revival, we all need to pause and right set our path toward God. We need to pull out the weeds of our heart — those “truths” that are destructive and not of God — and return to Him with our whole heart, our whole strength, and whole mind. Admittedly, this is not easy. For in doing so, we will need to reject the “truth” and live the Truth, which means that we may find ourselves not agreeing with friends or family and struggle to be the prophet we are called to be. We will have to reject the nuances which separate ourselves from God, the disdain we may express toward our family members; the frustration with the driver who switches lanes without a turn signal; the choice of sports vs. prayer; etc. Jesus asks us who we believe He is. If we profess our faith in Him, then we ought to say “yes” to His eternal invitation to come to the table of the Eucharist; to eat and drink that we are one through, with and in Him. Who wants to follow Jesus?