Known by our Fruits

By Michael Pirri

Our Gospel reading today challenges us to first see our faults before we consider pointing out the faults of others. This reading is especially poignant this week; Former Cardinal McCarrick has been laicized, Cardinal Pell was found guilty of sexual offenses involving minors, and a much anticipated meeting of Church leaders on the abuse crisis seems to have fallen short of expectations. These are no doubt difficult conversations to be having. As a Catholic higher education community, we have an obligation not only to have these conversations, but also to facilitate and lead them. I recently gave a talk on Ministry for the Parish R.C.I.A. program. In it, I spoke about our baptismal call to fulfill our roles as Priest, Prophet, and King. I think the Church today is in need of Prophets – Catholic women and men who go out into the world to spread the message of the Gospel. The abuse crisis is, rightly, jarring – it disturbs us. It is disheartening to experience as a global community, especially when it is not the reality the majority of us live in our faith lives. It erodes our trust in our faith, in the Church, and regretfully, for some even in God. Further, it challenges our values, and the impression of what our values are. We cannot give tacit approval. How are we to fulfill our roles as prophets in the reality we now live in? We are called to be witnesses in our thoughts, in what we say, and in what we do. In that way we are called to share the Gospel with those around us, to be prophets in our daily lives. We don’t need to be teachers, or influencers to be effective prophets, we need simply act in a way which is befitting of our role as messenger of the Gospel. We are to be known by our actions. In this disruption, there is opportunity for reconciliation, for inner conversion. This begins with conversation. With all important dialogue, it is important to be educated on the topic, to seek truth rather than approval, to listen to those who are not listened to, but most importantly to be receptive, to listen. In a few weeks time, there will be an opportunity to do just that – listen and learn. The Wounded Body of Christ: Listening and Responding to Abuse in the Church begins with a talk on Thursday, March 14, and a full day colloquium follows on Friday, March 15. I’d like to encourage you to attend either the talk or the full day colloquium as we begin to consider how to best find our voice on the abuse crisis in the Church.

Sunday’s Readings:

Sirach 27.4-7

Psalm 92

1 Corinthians 15.54-58

Luke 6.39-45