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FEARS IN THE CHURCH


2nd Sunday of Lent - A (Matthew 17,1-9) Sunday 08 / Mar / 2020

It is probably fear that most paralyzes Christians in following Jesus Christ faithfully. In the Church currently there is sin and weakness, but there is above all fear of taking risks. We have begun the third millennium without boldness for creatively renewing the experience of the Christian faith. It is not difficult to point out some of these fears. We are afraid of new things, as if "preserving the past" automatically guarantees fidelity to the Gospel. It is true that the Second Vatican Council stated emphatically that in the Church there must be "a continuous reform”, because “as a human institution it needs it permanently". However, it is no less true that what moves the Church right now is not so much a spirit of renewal as an instinct of conservation. We are afraid to assume the tensions and conflicts that come with seeking faithfulness to the gospel. We are silent when we should speak up; we hold ourselves back when we should intervene. Discussion of important issues is prohibited, to avoid asking questions that may be upsetting; we prefer routine adherence which does not bring up problems or upset the hierarchy. We are afraid of creative theological research. Fear of reviewing rites and liturgical languages that do not favor the living celebration of faith today. Fear of talking about "human rights" within the Church. Fear of practically recognizing a place for women more in line with the spirit of Jesus. We are afraid to put mercy above all else, forgetting that the Church has not received the "ministry of judgment and condemnation," but the "ministry of reconciliation." There is fear of welcoming sinners as Jesus did. It will hardly be said today of the Church that she is a "friend of sinners," as was said of her Master. According to the gospel account, the disciples fell to the ground "very afraid" upon hearing a voice that tells them: "This is my beloved Son ... listen to him." It is scary to only listen to Jesus. It is Jesus himself who came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” Only living contact with Christ could free us from so much fear. Fr. José Antonio Pagola

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