I am growing weary of attacks upon the Church, the "concern" for her welfare that so many from so many different backgrounds and with so many different agendas express, and the dire predictions that we confront daily. I addressed this somewhat on Sunday as I shared Paul's vision of who we are and where we have come from and what we are to be about which was found in the second reading. Today we have the assurance given us by God in the scriptures at Mass: from the 2nd Book of Kings we have Isaiah, son of Amos reminding King Hezekiah of the promise of God to not abandon Jerusalem to the threat of annihilation leveled by the King of Assyria upon the people of God. He says that from Jerusalem "shall come a remnant, and from Mount Zion, survivors." As the psalm response states: "God upholds his city forever." And in the Gospel of Matthew we are reminded that it is a narrow gate through which we enter into life and those who find it are few. Yet there are those who find it, there are those that enter in and rejoice in life with God. The Church, with all of it's warts and frailties and scandals is that earthen vessel that the Lord has chosen to be that gate, to bear that light, to celebrate eternal life.
I find myself concerned about the apathy, the dwindling numbers attending mass or seemingly practicing their faith, the willingness of so many to believe whatever comes from the mouths of the nay sayers and critics. I commented Sunday about Dan Brown's novel, The Divinci Code, a fair read (boring movie), but written and listed as a novel, a work of fiction. But in his intro, Dan Brown wisely says that what he writes about in his fictional novel is true ... and the gullible ate it up, accepting as "gospel" this work of creative imagination. That was my big objection at the time to the book.
Last Wednesday our local newspaper (I won't mention the name and give them the recognition) printed an editorial on the future of the Church that reflected what many of us have come to expect in their biased, unbalanced coverage of things religious. They spoke of A Church in Crisis and asked "What next for Catholics?" They listed a number of "scandals" and rumors that have "rocked" the Church, and included comments concerning the Holy Father' age and health and ability to lead that were unfounded and unkind, concluding that if the Church does not get her act together, she may not be sustainable and will surely implode. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The problem is that when people see this as "the truth" they find themselves a little less sure of themselves and of the Church. When I finished reading the piece, I gave thanks that my blood pressure medication was working as well as it was.
As we were reminded of today, though, there will always be a remnant, we will survive, God upholds his city forever. That paper has been around for a little over one hundred years under three incarnations .... we have been around as Church for two thousand years, and as a people of the covenant for thousands more, and we have survived and continue to prosper. I venture to say that we will be here a lot longer than those who voiced their opinion in the editorial, and we will express our concern for them by keeping them in our prayers.