"Thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.
[Bartimaeus] threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?"
The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see."
Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you."
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
When will we ever stop seeing these stories as something nice that happened to other people a long time ago? Our Church -- right now -- is in crisis. Churches are closing; teaching is reverting to dogmatism; the faithful are leaving in disgust; the fundamentalist hordes are closing in. Just about everywhere you look, Jesus Christ is on the run, and hatred in His name is rampant.
Parishes are devolving into a fast-food religion, with all the nutrition of MacDonald's and all the charm of a Walmart sub shop. It's all about pumping out the sacraments and calling it healthy faith life. The wacky rightwingers are trying ever so hard to meld their twisted version of Catholicim with with perverted view of American foreign policy. How many so-called traditional Catholics are against the war in Iraq because it fails (miserably) any of the tenets of the Just War policy -- one of the shining jewels of Catholic teaching? How many of these folks (who call me a Cafeteria Catholic because I am pro-birth control) support the enriching of the rich, the execution of criminals, and a literal interpretation of Scripture? It irks me that they are breaking Church Law and they are too blind, stupid, arrogant or power-hungry to see it.
Meanwhile the Church twirls down a drainhole of its own making, spinning into oblivion and irrelevancy.
Which brings me to the readings.
The Wacky Cathlics who think they represent the one true faith think they are the remnant of the Church that will save it. They could not be more wrong. Why? Because they represent only the worst of what Catholicism is. The represent hatred, insularity, nationalism, clericalism and empty ritual. They truly believe that if they were in power, the Church would have no scandals, because it would cast all the scandalous outside the walls. They aren't bright enough to appreciate the irony that in His Day, it was Jesus that was cast outside the walls and left to die. Quelle surprise that it is the Outcast who was resurrected -- not the Caiaphases and Pilates.
The Roman Catholic Church will dwindle. Of that I have no doubt. No organization that goes so far to marginalize, patronize, ignore and emasculate its membership can grow in any meaningful way. But the Lord will return a remnant. Of that Scripture assures us. Whateher it looks anything like the Catholic Church of today is irrelvant. Others can have their little Church of pageantry, patriarchal control and exclusivity. The Church of Jesus Christ -- with its call of love and fellowship to all -- will survive, even it is not called so by name.