Saturday, June 13, 2015

No Hat in the Ring

Why would anyone believe anything I say?  Here I stand before you, preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified, announcing the coming of the Kingdom and calling people to repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, and for all I know it may as well be just another blog post easily categorized according to type and political category.
This has been bothering me lately.  I read all sorts of writings every week; articles, blog posts, speeches, and even books.  I am not a big watcher of video anything, news or otherwise, but I do listen to the radio a bit.  So I encounter all sorts of propositions for explanations of what is going on, and what is important.  I assume you do, too; in fact, I figure most people cannot avoid this process, even if they try. 
And I cannot get over the impression that for reasons that are too broad to enumerate here, most people, who willingly accept as credible what is proposed them by this or that paper, website, or program, will level a skeptical eye at me, at the Church, and at Jesus Christ Himself and demand some proof or perfection before granting consideration.
In recent days, I have been engaged in a number of conversations – good, healthy, personal conversations – that have come around to the point where what I offer the other person also brings a challenge, and calls for some change, or even new effort.  Suddenly, the warmth and openness yields to a certain type of response: Oh, yeah? Well what about this? 
What follows is invariably a point where the Church or some prominent person associated with it has failed to measure up to some standard.  Oh yeah, well what about the Spanish Inquisition? Or maybe, Oh yeah, well what about that time when Pope So-and-so didn’t do anything to stop this or that horrible injustice?  The real standout among them? Oh yeah, well what about my friend, who is gay?  Sometimes it is more personal, like: Oh yeah, well what about that time you didn’t give my child what I know you obviously should have given her?
In this time when so much ammunition is being directed at candidates and potential candidates in hopes that one shot fired will be the silver bullet that destroys all possibility of election, when the search is on for the incriminating instance that eliminates all eligibility, we are subjected to all sorts of episodes of human frailty, but also an amazing array of expectations completely unreasonable, unattainable, and, most often, undesirable.  But that is to be expected of the political process.
To bring that same attitude to your Lord and Savior, that same sense of skeptically vetting a candidate for your vote of confidence, is understandable only in the context of recognizing how hard it is to break a habit that is bad to begin with.
This is the revealed Son of God, who did not campaign for your affections, but offered Himself up for death on the Cross.  He promises no program or platform, but a commandment: Love one another, as I have loved you.  He founded no earthly kingdom, much less party or PAC; but he clearly did institute the Church.  He left no writings at all, much less an agenda or a set of rules.  But we hold as sacred the writings that foretold and promised Him, in the Old Testament; that described Him and life with Him, by those who knew Him best, in the Gospels; and were written about, to, and for His Church, in the Acts of the Apostles, and the New Testament epistles. 
As political campaigns go, this one is a failure from the start.  The proposition that you are doomed to death by your own attachment to sin is not going to flatter anybody into offering support.  Is it irony that every candidate ever, by actions in and out of office, gives testimony to the truth of this proposition?  But there is no lack of evidence that this is no political campaign.  So, for the love of God, stop treating Him like a candidate!

Monsignor Smith