21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr. Benedict Groeschel once told me, "The Church will get much smaller before it gets bigger." In our Gospel, Jesus' teaching that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood (the Eucharist) to find eternal life turned many people away. But the Church has to get smaller, and more genuine, before it can grow through authentic and powerful witness. People get up in arms about Paul's words in our second reading, "Wives, be subordinate to your husbands." They fail, however, to read the rest of that chapter, where Paul asks all Christians to be subordinate to one another, to put the wants and needs of others before your own, because that is true love, that is what Christ did for us.
Sadly, we see in the recent news from Pennsylvania and the numerous scandals in the Church that some, even the Church's own ministers and leaders, have NOT chosen to follow this path that Paul (in following Jesus) laid out. Rather, they have chosen their wants and needs at the expense of and to the harm of others. Because of that bad example, many will leave the Church and even lose faith in God. And for those who remain, there is now more ammunition to be hurled at us. The Church will get smaller because of this, but it's a time of purification. "The Church will get much smaller before it gets bigger." But it will get bigger...through GENUINE witness to Jesus Christ!