As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
We are going up to Jerusalem. In today’s first reading, Jeremiah fears for his life and seeks God’s deliverance. In today’s Gospel passage, the Lord embraces his death and seeks our acceptance and understanding.
Jerusalem is the city of God. Judah is the land of His chosen people. And while the Holy Land is holy indeed, it is also the place in which God’s prophets are constantly put to death by His chosen people!
I have no problem understanding why an atheist ridicules and insults the Holy Father and our beloved Church. I don’t have a problem with it because I don’t expect anything good from them. On the other hand, I don’t understand how so many Christians, including a great number of Catholics, can be so ridiculous and insulting in their comments towards the Church and the Holy Father.
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said, “Come, let us contrive a plot against him. 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 carefully note his every word.”
Why? Why would they do this? I can’t think of any good reason! So then, why do they do this to poor Jeremiah? It must be because they want him to change. Yes, that’s it! They don’t want someone too holy. They want someone like…them.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a friend who sent me a copy of a Catholic pastor’s message to his congregation. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I will not reveal the priest’s identity because I do not want to embarrass the man, but his message was, to put it kindly, “parochial”: that is, very narrow-minded. In fact, it was so narrow-minded that it could have been written by a politician! And then I read that this pastor is a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
The pastor wrote to his community that he “hoped” that the next pope “would not be too holy, too healthy and too wise. In other words, they should select a regular guy. That’s what I hope for: a regular guy.”
Maybe, what he should have written was what he was really thinking. I hope they select a regular guy…someone like…me! Hmmm…someone not too wise, not too holy and not too healthy (Now I wonder if he means physically or psychologically. Oh, it makes no difference as long as he’s on meds).
In his timely message, this pastor expressed a lot of “hopes” he had for the next pope. I’ll only mention a few of the more the unique ones: “I hope we get someone who puts on his pants one leg at a time. I hope we get a man with a sense of humor…who can tell a joke once in a while and laugh at himself.” I don’t know about you, but when I read this, I asked myself if this individual had a camera in the Holy Father’s apartment! How does he know such things about our pope? Well, I think by now it’s awfully clear: he doesn’t. I think it is clear that this soul doesn’t know the Pope well at all.
But I think I know what he is trying to say, and I wouldn’t doubt his congregation does too, for they have had the same pastor for nearly thirty years. I’m sure by now they have become experts in interpreting and extrapolating as much as they can from his weekly parochial messages and jokes from the pulpit.
How sad. How very sad indeed.
Resolution: Let us pray the rosary for our next Pope. That he may be very healthy, very wise and very holy! (Someone not like me!) That he be a man of his word and a man of The Word.
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