Monday, October 6, 2014

One Gospel

This week we begin reading the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. After the greeting, St. Paul jumps right to the heart of the matter.

I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another).

It seems that from the very earliest days of the Church there have been those, often well intended, who wished to alter the gospel. And for two millennia it has been the Pope and Bishops whose primary task it has been maintain fidelity to the one gospel, the revealed unchangeable truth which we refer to as the Deposit of Faith.

The great challenge of the Church is to find new ways in every generation to articulate the gospel without changing it, for the truth is the truth and we cannot change it.

This week and next bishops from around the world are gathered to discuss a whole variety of issues regarding the family, the primary building block of all human society. The preparatory document is 159 pages which points to the absurdity of the press reducing it to the topic of divorce.

Just as when St. Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, there are those who would like to see the Church change its teaching about marriage, family, and divorce. What they forget is that even the Pope does not have the right to change the truths about the family contained in the gospels.

We can and should look closely at how we communicate the truth and how we can best provide pastoral care for and support families in the multitude of cultures that exist in the 21st century.

As Americans we chafe at the notion of an objective truth to which we must conform our lives. St. Paul reminds us today that this is part of the paradox of the gospel. We find true freedom not in believing whatever we choose or doing what we want, but in accepting the truth and surrendering our lives to the will of God. Then and only then are we truly free.