God cares not only for our physical being, our bodies, He cares for our spiritual being: He cares for our whole being, heart, mind, body & soul. God is love (1 John 4) – and He loves us, always. But He does not always love what we say and do – He does not love our sinning. God made us in His image and likeness. He is the source of all goodness, love and mercy, and He made us to know, love and serve Him in this life so as to be eternally happy with Him in Heaven.
That’s what He’s explaining to the scribes, Pharisees and all His disciples this Sunday in the Gospel of Saint Mark (7:1-23). But the hearts of the scribes & Pharisees were far from God – what was coming from their hearts were such evils as malice, lies, pride, deceit and blasphemy. That cannot be the way for us. God wants our whole being conformed to Him – heart, mind, body and soul – so that what comes from us is good, holy and true. To conform our hearts to His heart, God gives us life-affirming Teachings, Commandments, statutes and decrees, His Church, Word, Sacraments, prayer and the example of the saints to help us live in Him – giving us the grace to live the virtuous life, to humbly welcome the Word that’s been planted in us and saves our souls, and to witness to and tell the Truth, Jesus Christ, with love and joy, in word and deed (James 1:17-27).
We have heard recently of how some leaders in the Church have lied and been far from God, committing and/or covering up crimes, sins, evil acts – these leaders include religious brothers, deacons, priests, bishops and cardinals in the past 70 or more years, all entrusted with the care of souls (please see Bishop Robert C. Morlino’s August 18th letter in the August 23rd Catholic Herald, madisondiocese.org, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s letter in the National Catholic Register, ncregister.com). Let us pray for: God’s healing and strength for all the victims; God’s justice and mercy for the men who committed these sins and crimes and covered them up and that they resign or be removed from their office (at least half of those recently accused have died or have already resigned/been removed); the deacons, priests, bishops and cardinals who are currently serving God and His Church, that they strive with the laity to respond with ever greater fidelity to Jesus Christ and His Church; forgiveness, healing and conversion for all. Please be assured that I and all the staff and volunteers at Saint Clement Parish (school and church) will continue to: do all we can to ensure that our parish is a holy and safe environment for everyone; use the VIRTUS program and have background checks for all employees; monitor the behavior and words of all employees and volunteers. If you see or hear of any type of misconduct or abuse, please contact law enforcement, the Victims’ Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Madison, our staff and me.
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, calls us all to live our life in communion with Him, with God who is love. As Jesus says, where our hearts are, there is our treasure (Matthew 6:21). As disciples of Christ, we are called to live the Faith that we profess, striving by God’s grace to be His faithful, hopeful and loving disciples, in His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. This happens when our heart is in communion with God’s will. As members of Christ’s Body, the Church, may we, by God’s grace, renew our efforts to be faithful, hopeful, loving and holy disciples, imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, following Jesus Christ, conforming our heart to His Sacred Heart. Jesus, I trust in You.
With peace and prayers in Christ,