13th Sunday after Pentecost
In today’s epistle the psalmist’s voice resounds reminding God of His holy covenant, pleading with Him not to forget those who put all their trust in Him. It is a recurring theme in the Old Testament. God enters into a Covenant with His people; His people sin by being unfaithful to it; they then find themselves in dire straits for having abandoned God; they then cry out to Him not to forget them.
Our God is a faithful God and even if we are unfaithful, if we turn to Him to remind Him of the promises He made to our Fathers, He does not turn a deaf ear. It is touching to see how indeed the Lord does let Himself be moved, how He does step in to bring a solution to desperate situations that we create often for ourselves. His people must suffer and make amends, but He does not ever abandon them.
What happened in the Old Covenant is repeated in the New. Our Lord Jesus Christ established with us an everlasting Covenant in His own Blood; He established the Church to watch over and perpetuate the effects of that covenant through the Holy Sacraments and the preaching of the revealed truth to the end of time. Periodically, however, many in the Church let themselves drift away from the fidelity they owe to God, and fail to keep their baptismal vows; they live in sin and they profane the Blood of Christ, crucifying Him again in their own flesh.
Because of this, the Church finds herself in the midst of crisis, during which it seems so very difficult, if not impossible, to not lose hope and give up. The natural bent of our fallen humanity is to give up and run away, but God’s grace reminds us of His promises and if we let ourselves be moved and ask for mercy in all sincerity and truth, and if we are prepared to make amends to the best of our strength, then we are reconciled.
At the moment, the Church is certainly in one of those moments in which the Covenant itself seems to be called into question. Those who have been placed in the Church to safeguard the faith rarely, if ever, stand up to defend it. We even have cardinals at the moment making bold to state publicly that some of the Church’s moral teachings are wrong and need to be changed, and they find themselves promoted to positions of great influence. At the same time the Holy Father regularly chastises what He calls “rigidity” in doctrine and forms of worship, giving the impression – whether it is intentional or not we are not to judge – that nothing is stable, that everything may be OK, except what was formerly the norm for all. The upcoming synod on synodality looms like a spectre on the horizon and even many Catholic figures who up to now were optimistic are starting to sound the alarm.
In this context, it is vital that we keep our heads on our shoulders, that we be respectful of authorities, and that we stand firm in the full profession of Catholic doctrine and morals. We must remind the Lord often of His holy Covenant and beg Him not to forget those poor souls who cry to Him; those humble souls that who are simply trying to live the faith as best they can; those families making heroic efforts to respect God’s law regarding the transmission of life only to hear prelates talking of changing the teaching on contraception; those souls heroically battling same-sex attraction and living chaste lives only to hear prelates making themselves the champions of sodomy; those priests striving the hand on what they have received only to be sidelined because they are not open to the incessant novelties supposedly from the Holy Spirit – and the list could go on.
We, today, are those poor referred to in the introit who cry out to the Lord. We have no one to take our defence. Priests and bishops are afraid to speak out, lest they be silenced and removed. And so the only ones who are heard are those clamouring for change. We are poor, we have no one, but our strength lies in the fact that we seek the Lord, we want Him with our whole heart, and we are prepared for anything to find Him, to hold firm to His truth, and to hand it on to the next generation. I will live for the Lord; my descendants will serve Him. The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance He has brought (Ps 21:31-32).
For yes, the deliverance will come, the Lord will awaken, the storm shall be calmed. But it may be that before then, blood must flow from the veins of martyrs and a new Jonah thrown into the sea.