read it all for yourself here. . .
All around me I see religious leaders trying to make the faith relevant
for people. Whether it’s a Protestant pastor laying on parenting classes
or the local megachurch advertising drug free rehab sessions, or maybe
it is a Catholic priest doing his best to provide a hip hop sermon and a
groovy style, or perhaps it’s a sincere pastor who spends all her time
housing the homeless and feeding the hungry, maybe it’s the community
church with cool music and a hipster pastor…I see them and envy their
energy and passion, but as a Catholic priest I wonder if that is what I
am supposed to be doing. I doubt it.
I’m not down on those who wish to make the church inclusive, who reach
out to the poor, who serve Christ in others. All that is very good, but
when it comes right down to the bottom line I have to ask what is most
necessary. What is most necessary is saving souls through the preaching
of the gospel and the administration of the saving sacraments. I’m a
priest, so this is my main job. The other stuff is good, but not the
I wish I could say that I was content to be irrelevant -- in my head I am... but in my heart I still want to be relevant... to have the folks nodding their heads and walking out telling each other how wise I am and how useful my words and ministry... In my head I am content to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments and leave the rest up to God to do what He has promised... but in my heart I still want to transform something, to make over someone, to make a difference somewhere... So I live with this tension of head and heart... But then I wonder if that is not exactly how it is meant to be by the Lord of the Church?! We are conscious of those whom we serve in Christ's name -- the least, the lost, the lonely, the wandering, the wounded, and the wild... but never forgetting that the greatest service of the hands must be accompanied by the service of the Word speaking Christ clearly and pointing by works to the place where the Word speaks and accomplishes His saving purpose and the Sacraments still deliver that of which they speak and sign...
It seems we live in a world with an ever greater divide than ever between churches and pastors who choose relevance over faithfulness... but the only relevance that matters to a world dead in trespasses and sin is the faithfulness to the Gospel of the Cross and the means of grace that deliver to us the fruits of His redeeming work -- with even the faith to acknowledge it and rejoice in it....
Good Father Longenecker has given us some words of wisdom to consider. . . indeed!
If only the Church would stay on point, so that the world would know who we are.
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