Comments: Weekend opinions

"We may not be asked to dispose of all our possessions, but we will be asked, like him, to face our vulnerability. The young man was confident that he could do anything, until Jesus revealed to him his weakness. And he will challenge us decisively." - Roderick Strange -

At this morning's Mass, I decided to incorporate the story of Saint Francis of Assisi, whose own response to the call of Jesus was dramatically different. Francis was also aware of his own vulnerability - a need we all have, as Fr. Rod says here in this article.

Besides his renunciation of this world's goods, Francis also renounced his human need to judge other people - something which we all have to overcome, if we are truly to become disciples of Christ. Our capacity and human tendency to judge others - especially their motivation in carrying out the work of the Gospel - can become the biggest barrier to our own salvation.

This message in today's Gospel is so important to our understanding of the perils of seeking out our own way of personal perfection. The rich young man, like the Pharisee in another story - who pitted himself against the self-confessed sinner - was anxious to justify himself in front of Jesus. However, when Jesus challenged him with the reality of what he was asking for, the young man went away disappointed.

Despite his rigorous obedience to the Law, this did not make him perfect. And this is what we need to be teaching in the Church today. The Law as an agency will not save one single person. Only the Law of Christ, which demands kenosis and self-giving, deference to others and fasting from judgement, has the capacity to bring redemption. Thus, the presumption that tradition alone can save us - in these ongoing arguments in the Church about righteousness and judgement - has proved to be a false hope.

Justice and Mercy are the qualities by which we will be judged - not by our protestations of self-righteousnessm, or our observance of the Law as it has been handed down to us. This is why, to allow the inclusion of women and the LGBT community into the ministry of Christ's Church may just be part of the challenge that Jesus is offering to us all - today. (Yahweh or My Way?)


Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 12:14am BST

Really terribly sad about Taylors.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 3:28am BST

Who cares what Rowan Williams says about the war in Iraq or anywhere else? On his watch, the Church of England has accelerated its journey to cease being a compassionate, intelligent body and become an ignorant and obscurantist oppressor of minorites. Peter Selby identified the 'bullying, the threats, the withdrawal of communion, the unilateral invasions of others' territories - (which)have made Anglicanism quite unrecognisable to a significant number of people'.
Rowan Williams can't preside over a humane institution with Godly understanding so no one should bother listening when he chastises the faults he sees in others. And, thing thing is, they don't listen.

Posted by toby forward at Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 8:59am BST

Is there not a fair bit of evasiveness in Roderic Strange's comment?

I will be interested in comparing his Bible lite interpretation with my favorite preacher at today's sermon. She is hardly a hard core traditionalist but I doubt her take on the reading will be the same.

I also wonder what St. Francis and St. Clare would make of his comments - though, granted that they are appealing and become more and more appealing as one's assets increase. However, I fear that positive correlation is worrisome!

Posted by ettu at Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 12:32pm BST

Toby: quite. Well said.

Posted by Fr Mark at Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 9:44pm BST

Cardinal Ratziinger and John Paul II declared clearly at the time that the Iraq war was immoral and wrong. The man with the shoes said the rest. Peace on the souls of the countless Iraqi victims.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 13 October 2009 at 3:41pm BST
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