Last week we saw the destructive nature of hurricane Florence as it struck the Carolinas and other states with the wind, rain and storm surge. What made it worse was that it was a slow moving hurricane and did extensive damage to the affected areas. Because of global warming, the projection is that these hurricanes will become more fierce and destructive. Obviously, this remains to be seen.
Then there were the gas explosions in three towns in Massachusetts. The best scenario the gas company could come up with was that there was gas build up within the system. It’s scary when folks were sitting in their houses and all of a sudden there was an explosion. This left folks in New Jersey wondering if the same thing can happen here. It might, considering how old some of these gas lines are in the various cities. Two serious and rather scary events that left people wondering what will happen next. If you have noticed when you drive around Springfield, that PSEG has been replacing gas lines throughout the town. This should help us feel a little better.
The news about the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church continues to make headlines in print and on television. This scandal is more widespread than most people ever imagined. The church as a whole is suffering because of this, but the victims have suffered the most. Hopefully, through the care and concern of others, they have been able to experience some healing, although this will be a life-long process. We can pray for them, and hope that those responsible will be brought to accept responsibility for their actions. This scandal has certainly hindered the work of the church, which is supposed to bring the Good News of Jesus to others. Hopefully, most understand that the percentage of priests and bishops involved in this scandal is minimal compared to those of us who have been faithful to the Lord and the care of his people. But this doesn’t make it any easier for the victims. They continue to need our prayers, that they may come to recognize the gentle, healing touch of the Lord in their lives.
Of course, people ask how could something like this happen in the church. It happened because there were too many men who should not have been ordained priests, and who may have had some sort of personal and/or psychological problems. There were also some who allowed alcohol to take over their lives and caused them to behave in a destructive manner to the children and young people. I am sure there may be other reasons, and hopefully with the recent revelations, there may come healing to the individuals and to the church at large. Our faith rests in Jesus who is present to all affected, and to all of us. Hopefully, we can be reassured of his presence as we continue to reflect his life and love to all we meet. The time is now for healing and not judgment, even though we may want to lash out at the offenders. Our responsibility is to continue to be a sign of the presence of Jesus to all we meet, for we are his body, and so we should act like it.
~ FR. JOE