Monday, October 8, 2012

Why don't we change ?

As the Church struggles in our 21st century American culture, many ask when the Catholic Church is going to get with the program, and change its position on this or that issue. The answer is simple and is found in today's first reading.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!

Saint Paul in his letter to the Galatians reminds us that the gospel doesn't belong to the Church to do with as we will, we are merely the custodians, entrusted with handing it on from one generation to the next.

Of course, this letter also reminds us that from the beginning there have always been those Christians who believed they had the right to change the gospel to make it and themselves more popular, more palatable to the culture.

This does not mean that nothing should change. There are things which can and must change. With time the Holy Spirit continues to lead us to a deeper understanding of the truth contained in the Gospel. And in every time and place we have to constantly search for the way to best explain the truths contained in the gospel so that it can be best understood by the people in a particular time and place. But the truth remains the truth.

One of the greatest challenges in reading the Bible is distinguishing between the truth a particular passage is meant to communicate and the mode of expression used by the writer. That is why as Catholics we look to the tradition and the magisterium to help us in the process. On Thursday we begin the Year of Faith, anime for each of us go back to the foundations of our faith. Rather than conforming the gospel to ourselves to conform ourselves to the gospel.