No TV star, however popular, is immune from criticism. Garry Moore once announced that he was giving St. Christopher medals to members of his staff. Some views, believing him to be Jewish, berated him for what they thought was hypocrisy in giving away a Catholic sacramental. others, who thought him a Catholic, scolded him for thrusting his religion upon others.
Garry Moor, who happens to be an Episcopalian, remarked, “If you say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, someone is going tow rite in and say, ‘What’s the matter? You don’t like your father?'”
– Lovasik (1,000 Stories You Can Use, by Frank Mihalic)
The Church has always been, and will always be, criticised by others. What is your response as a member of the Church?
1 Corinthians 2:10-16
The Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God. After all, the depths of a man can only be known by his own spirit, not by any other man, and in the same way the depths of God can only be known by the Spirit of God. Now instead of the spirit of the world, we have received the Spirit that comes from God, to teach us to understand the gifts that he has given us. Therefore we teach, not in the way in which philosophy is taught, but in the way that the Spirit teaches us: we teach spiritual things spiritually. An unspiritual person is one who does not accept anything of the Spirit of God: he sees it all as nonsense; it is beyond his understanding because it can only be understood by means of the Spirit. A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men. As scripture says: Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and it shouted at the top of its voice, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.” But Jesus said sharply, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” And the devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone, went out of him without hurting him at all. Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, “What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.” And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside.
Have you ever studied, or tried studying Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? I once did a basic course on it in university, and it was such a headache! It spoke of objects becoming heavier when they move faster, and time slowing down at speeds near that of light. By the time I was halfway through, I was so confused about the questions I was given that I nearly gave up. Fortunately, I approached a Physics major friend of mine (Lloyd), and using simple words, he explained it to me such that I was able to understand (though I no longer do!). That was only possible because Lloyd used Physics to explain the quirks of Physics. Without that, the Theory of Relativity really was nonsense to me!
In today’s first reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians (and us), that we have to have the Holy Spirit in us in order to be able to understand spiritual stuff… like God. Without the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and guidance, God is nonsense and beyond our understanding. Resurrection from the dead is hogwash, as even the disciples taught before Jesus actually rose from the dead. But with the Holy Spirit enlightening us, and as it did the apostles on the first Easter, we can come to understand some of the mysteries of God, and so come to believe.
Today’s gospel reading is sure to strike a chord with Catholics in Singapore, what with the local church being sued for a case of alleged botched exorcism. As members of the church, how does such a situation affect us? It must affect us in some way, for we are all members of the church that seems to come under attack. How do we respond?
Well, for one thing, it will help for us to familiarise ourselves with what is going on, and to learn through talks or discussions with others on what exorcism really is, so that we are able to explain how it works and does not work to non-Catholics around us, should they ask.
Secondly, we must remember that the Holy Spirit which we ask to guide and inspire us, is a Spirit of Love. At no time should we find ourselves placing judgement on those who would attack the church in any way. And there will be those who will use this incident as an opportunity to attack the church. We are called not to share bad news about others, but good news about Christ. Let us refrain from talking bad about others, and talking good about God.
Prayer: We pray for the Holy Spirit of Love to dwell within each of us, to strengthen, to guide, to inspire, and to teach us to love one another as Jesus loves us.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: An opportunity to share the Faith with others.
Wed, 6 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-44
Thu, 7 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23; Luke 5:1-11
Fri, 8 Sep – Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23; Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sat, 9 Sep – 1 Corinthians 4:6b-15; Luke 6:1-5; Memorial for Bl. Peter Claver, priest
Sun, 10 Sep – Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37; 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.