-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at www.usccb.org/readings
-check out this weeks LinC letter at www.parishLinCLetter.blogspot.com
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 on Saturday and 11:00 and 12:30 on Sunday
I was in the barbershop this week and the barber said "Father, a lot of my Catholic customers are unhappy with the churches response to the Supreme Court decision last week." Since I was reclined in the chair and the barber was holding sharp objects I couldn't escape and I did not try avoid the conversation.
I thought the barber's description of the problem was interesting. He didn't say that the Catholic customers were upset with the Supreme Court decision, he said the customers were upset with the church in their response.
This Fourth of July weekend and the scripture text of this 14th Sunday of the year do seem to be a graceful coincidence and opportunity to reflect upon the mission of the church in a democratic free society.
The mission of the church is perfectly laid out for us as that of the role of "prophet". Ezekiel before him and Jesus in his home town are being witnesses to what God is doing through the church in the world. To be prophetic is to speak on behalf of the other, in this case God. As the first half of the word pro-phet is the root of our English word "proclaim". To proclaim God's marvelous deeds is the role of Jesus and thus the church in the world.
The world to which the church is called to proclaim God's love and mercy is described in the scriptures today as one that is hostile, at least suspicious of the prophet among them. This attitude of hostility or suspicion is one that fits our contemporary situation as Americans who breathe free. Today's culture in America is often reminding us of the freedom OF religion in our constitution but more aggressively today a freedom FROM religion which is tragic for society.
This hostility or suspicion of religion and prophets in America today has the same effect upon God as it did in Jesus' hometown. He could not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith. If we poll Catholics in the pew about these very difficult subjects the polling numbers tell us that the majority of Catholics have rejected the church's prophetic stance on many issues over the years.
The church has been clear and truthful in its teaching on human sexuality and marriage. The church has been brilliant and prophetic in its reflection upon he dignity of human life and persons. I am afraid, however, that our society's desire to be free from religion has pretty much rejected this message from God. Even among our greatest Catholics.
So, Catholics today are upset with the pastors' response in the Supreme Court decision. So what would faithful Catholics like to hear?