Friday, July 07, 2006

Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, once said:

"A preaching that awakens, a preaching that enlightens, as when a light turned on awakens and annoys a sleeper -that is the preaching of Christ...Naturally, such preaching must meet conflict, must spoil what is miscalled prestige, must disturb, must be persecuted. It cannot get along with the powers of darkness and sin (22 Jan. 1978).

For many years I have encountered this conflict. When I stood against inclusive language at one parish, I was called "sick." When I stood with a family in Gardner, Massachusetts whose little girl had been sexually abused by a priest (before most Catholics became aware that this sort of thing was going on), I was villified at my parish and some asked if I even knew the girl and her family (recall what Cain said to God after killing his brother Abel). When I opposed the column of dissident theologian Rev. Richard P. McBrien in the pages of The Catholic Free Press (Diocese of Worcester) I regularly received hate mail. And when I opposed same-sex marriage and publicly defended - in the Mothertown News - the Church's Magisterial teaching regarding homosexual acts as well as the Church's teaching that the homosexual inclination is "intrinsically disordered," the Clinton Police Department called my home and spoke with my father, informing him that someone had threatened to gun me down with a high-powered rifle.

And I have received many more death threats over the years. Why do I relate all of this? Because my friends, as baptized Catholics we lay people are priests. We belong to the common priesthood of the faithful. Jesus instituted the sacramental priesthood to serve the larger priesthood of all Christians. And He instituted the common priesthood - the priesthood of all Christians - to serve and save the world.

Do we take this responsibility seriously? Do we make use of the gifts Jesus has given us to further His Gospel Message of belief and repentance? Do we take seriously our vocation to be salt and light and to resist the reign of Satan in the world? Or do we simply attend Holy Mass on Sunday and adopt the attitude that we have fulfilled our religious duty?

Jesus will one day ask us to render an account of our talents. Talents which He has freely given us as gift. What will we say to Jesus? Will we bury our treasure or will we invest it and return a profit?

Either way, He will ask us to account for these talents. Be prepared to give answer.

God love you,

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