instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, April 02, 2007

We are Church

In his homily for today's Gospel, in which Judas complains about the oil Mary of Bethany pours on Jesus' feet, Fr. Philip Powell, O.P., says:
Look again at who's gathered in the house with Jesus: Lazarus, Martha, Mary, Judas... Here Jesus has with him a living miracle, a selfless good work, an indulgent act of devotion, and a heart hardened by avarice and scorn. A week or so before his death he has with him the Church....
The Church has always been a mixed bag. Golden ages, such as they are, are defined more by the number of individual saints who appeared than by the average holiness of all of her members. (See Culbreath's Equilibrium, as quoted by O'Rama: "Protestantism, historically, is better at elevating the morals and behavior of the masses. Catholicism, on the other hand, is better at making saints.")

And to some extent each of our own hearts is that house in Bethany; we are by turns and by degree miraculous signs and selfless works and indulgent devotions and greedy lies. The world plots with the Judas in our hearts, to kill not only Christ but also Lazarus. But in three days, Christ will rise again. Will He find the Judas strengthened or weakened?