Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Think ye that I have come to give peace in the earth?

"Think ye that I have come to give peace in the earth? Nay, I say to you, but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided; three shall be divided against two, and two against three: father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
Luke 12:51-53

From an associated press article:
"I would have preferred a more moderate choice," said Barbara Bowen, 56, a self-described "lapsed Catholic" from New York who was visiting Los Angeles and hurried over to the downtown Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels when its bells began ringing.

"I was personally looking for someone who would approve the ordination of women - that would be nice and progressive," Bowen said.

And from another:
"He could be a wedge rather than a unifier for the church," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit weekly magazine America.

Evelyn Strauch, a 54-year-old housewife from Ratzinger's home state of Bavaria, buried her head in her hands and wept as she stood in St. Peter's.

"This can't be true," she said. "I had hoped so much that we would get a good pope who would do something for women. ... This is so terrible."

Mark Wunsch, 27, a religious philosophy student from Denver, was elated.

"The cardinals elected a good and holy man who was close to Pope John Paul II," he said. "He'll be a wonderful and good leader in preaching the truth and love."

And a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that 74% of American Catholics are "more likely to follow their own conscience on "difficult moral questions," rather than the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI."

As for me...

I'll be singing the "Te Deum" loudly for the next few days and my face will be sore from grinning. The election of Benedict XVI sends a powerful message to the world that the mind of the Church is not concerned with conformity and with politics, but with the preaching of the Word. Cardinal Ratzinger's work over the years has shown an uncompromising focus on this task, and to that end he will be an excellent shepherd for the flock.

I once heard a homily by a priest who was interested in an anthropological and historical approach to reading scripture. While I'm critical of the so-called historical-critical method myself, I found this homily to be very enlightening as it pertained to the parable of the "Good Shepherd." He said that a shepherd in the time of Christ, when a young sheep would wander from the fold, would often smack the knees of the sheep with his staff, and then sling the lamed animal over his shoulders and carry it back. This both prevented the sheep from kicking him in objection to its transport, and also served to sternly admonish the creature to abandon its tendency to wander from the fold.

This image is not necessarily at conflict with our other common views of the Good Shepherd, though it may appear as such on the surface. The fact is that God loves us and sometimes with a "tough love." The God of the Old Testament is the very same God found manifest in the flesh through the person of Jesus Christ, and hence He continued to give correction for His holy people when they stray from keeping the covenant.

To those who fear that Benedict XVI will cause divisions: adopt the attitude of our former pontiff, and be not afraid. Divisions there will be: the fat will be trimmed, the winnowing fan turned against the chaff, the cream skimmed from the top, and the sheep separated from the goats. The lukewarm, who are most displeasing to Christ, will be given further impetus to adopt a firm position, be it hot or cold. But wide and broad as the tumultuous waters may become, and Holy Spirit shall hover over all with His "ah, bright wings," imposing order on the chaos, bringing forth forms from the voids, and breathing life into the Church in the new millenium.

2 Comments:

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4/21/05, 1:36 PM  
Anonymous bigsis said...

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4/21/05, 1:36 PM  

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