THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for February 27th, 2014
Liturgical texts here
WE cannot speak of “evangelization”, we cannot utter the word “ecumenism”, we cannot move toward “unity” until the spirit of worldliness has been exorcised from the body of Christ. Worldliness is compromise; compromise is adultery; adultery is idolatry; and idolatry, said St. James in Tuesday’s Gospel, sets us against God.
Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Today’s readings speak more of the consequences of worldliness.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter… Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed… He shall join the circle of his forebears who shall never more see light… Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off… Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor?
Worldliness, says Pope Francis, is most dangerous when it seeps into the Church, for it not only interferes with morals, but the salvation of others. It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” cf. Phil 2:21
Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being.
It is a spiritual worldliness when we spend time judging one another:
…instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.
It is a spiritual worldliness when orthodoxy is devoid of love and there is an…
…ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time.
…when only one’s own spiritual well-being is paramount and no…
…effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ. Evangelical fervour is replaced by the empty pleasure of complacency and self-indulgence.
…when careerism and clericalism in the Church translates into the…
…concern to be seen, into a social life full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions… a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution.
…when we simply…
…waste time talking about “what needs to be done”…
…when there are those who look on from above and afar and…
…reject the prophecy of their brothers and sisters… discredit those who raise questions, [and] constantly point out the mistakes of others and [ are] obsessed by appearances.
Such a Church is like good salt gone bad. So Jesus says,
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.
When the spirit of love, which is the spirit of the Gospel lives in us instead, then we will begin to witness true evangelization, authentic ecumenism, and the beginnings of real, and lasting unity. May we repent of worldliness that Jesus may hasten to sprinkle our hearts with the salt of the Holy Spirit!
God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings! This stifling worldliness can only be healed by breathing in the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees us from self-centredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God…. Our world is being torn apart by wars and violence, and wounded by a widespread individualism which divides human beings, setting them against one another as they pursue their own well-being… I especially ask Christians in communities throughout the world to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion. Let everyone admire how you care for one another, and how you encourage and accompany one another: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). This was Jesus’ heartfelt prayer to the Father: “That they may all be one… in us… so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21)… We are all in the same boat and headed to the same port! Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in the gifts of each, which belong to all… Let us ask the Lord to help us understand the law of love. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, all the above quotes are from n. 93-101
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|↑1||cf. Phil 2:21|