25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This week has been a bit different, the Anglican Church of Ireland has just elected its first woman Bishop and also our Holy Father Pope Francis has asked the Church to refocus our lives as Christians in order to get away from the narrow mindedness that we see from focusing on some issues such as Abortion and sexuality instead of looking at the whole picture. As far as I am concerned the teachings of the Church relating to these issues need to be upheld but the constant talking about them and the attached commentary in the media about these issues makes the world at large think that as Catholics we think about these particular issues and not much else. This is so far from the truth as so many other equally important issues are ongoing in church circles and they don’t get the coverage and promotion that they also deserve. Issues such as faith, Justice, Vocations and how to reconnect the people of God with the Church. These are a few issues that come to mind whilst writing this but there are many more issues than there may be solutions but we must move beyond the negativity of being seen as a one or two issue church to being a Church where our principles are upheld and people are valued as we move forward as Gods faithful; people.
The readings for this weekend show two sides of witnessing to the faith. On the one hand Amos is trenchant in his public criticism of the scandalous behavior of his fellow citizens. His stand will get him into serious difficulties with the authorities and, according to some traditions, his death.Paul, on the other hand, wants believers to witness to their faith by the good, quiet lives they lead. As a new movement he understands that more people will be attracted to it by the good example of its members. The same tension can and does exist for believers today. There is a great need for the fearless prophetic witness which calls attention to the oppressive injustices of our time. Equally, Christians must also show by their lives that they are not simply political agitators but people committed to the values of the kingdom of God. Oscar Wilde described a cynic as “one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” A Christian should be the reverse: one who has less interest in the price of a thing than in its true value. Let us remember then that we should treasure our faith and its true value.When money becomes our master then God takes a poor second place and the consequences of that choice are everywhere to be seen in our world where so few have so much and so many have little or nothing at all and that includes faith.