John 15: 1-8
Remain in me.
This comes from Jesus talking to His disciples. In the Gospel of John, especially, it is extremely straight forward. My wonderful son pulled this one out as the “Word of the Day” – to live by for the day. It got me thinking. For me, on this particular day, in this particular situation, there is almost a double meaning. I can take “remain” to mean something like “remain in this situation, remain as a missionary in this foreign country, remain in learning how to live into this new German life.” Or, I can take it as something a bit like “Remain as a faithful Catholic, holding to the Church’s teachings as laid out in the Bible, interpreted by the Church authorities.”
Can I just say that there seems to be some divergence of opinions on what the Church’s teachings are world-wide? There are some who say that several variegated teachings of the Church need to change, that the Church needs to modernize itself. I don’t know about that one. Sometimes it seems that those who want the teachings to change are just looking for an easement of their guilt and are forgetting that it’s the sin that is hated, not the sinner. I really, truly believe that God loves all of us, even those who don’t think He exists. Typical parent though: He loves us, but doesn’t always like what we do. But, He gives us the freedom to choose what to do. Wanting the Church to change just so we can excuse ourselves from what we’ve done, though, seems to be a bit cowardly, a bit like us not wanting to change, a bit like wanting our parents to say that Wikipedia is a valid research source, just because we’re too lazy to do any more research.
Isn’t it better to just bite the bullet, to put in more research hours, to go ahead and try to change our own behavior, to take responsibility for our own actions, admit where we fail, and try again for following what the Church tells us to do? I mean, as Catholics, there is this wonderful thing called Reconciliation – where we ‘fess up to God and (more importantly sometimes) to ourselves, drag our screw-ups out into the light of day, say we’re sorry and will try, with God’s help, not to screw up anymore… And then, we are forgiven! Is that not totally awesome? Our sins are forgiven! God tells us that our imperfections are forgiven and that He will walk beside us to help us not to sin again. It’s a new start. It is the opportunity to try to “remain in God,” to remain in the teachings of Jesus, and to remain in His grace. And we get this opportunity every time we go to Reconciliation. Isn’t that a good enough reason to hit that Confessional?