Watching the General Audience this morning I was so uplifted by the 200,000 people showing their love for the Church and for Pope Benedict on that bright day in Rome. What a contrast to the reports of imminent doom and prominent scandal in the Church that we hear and see reported in the media, and also with delight and relish, by those who hate the Church.
Then at Mass this morning we heard about those that were plotting against Jeremiah the prophet. They said: "Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us note his every word." Jeremiah explained to the Lord that he had only tried to do good, to stand before the Lord in behalf of these same people now plotting against him.
The author of Psalm 31 said: "I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side, as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life."
And even Jesus spoke to his friends of going up to Jerusalem where he will be handed over and mocked and scourged and crucified.
As I said at the beginning of this post, there are those that hate the Church and all that she stands for. They vent their venom on the Church, the Holy Father, and all those that seek to do the will of God. Then there are those who just don't understand, who bring their hurt or prejudice into the equation and negate or ignore the good that the Church and the Holy Father has done and focus upon the human imperfections. They forget that the Church is a human institution established by God to bring us a glimpse what God has in store - holiness of life. And then there are those who love a good conspiracy, who love intrigue, who are less concerned about the truth and more concerned about headlines.
We are at a graced moment of transition within the Church. We are called to enliven our faith in this Year of Faith. We are called to place our trust in the Lord, our God - to say, as did the Psalmist this morning: "You are my God. In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors."
O Lord, you are our refuge and strength!