Why should we be shocked when scandals arise? Why should we be surprised when the Church’s leaders make us a laughingstock to the unbelieving multitude? Why should it trouble us when prelates accuse one another of lying and give credence to Pontius Pilate’s question: “What is truth?”
The truth is that we should not be surprised. Jesus told us that scandals would arise, “but woe to him through whom they come” (Luke 17:1).
Jesus also said: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). So we should be serene, knowing that “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).
History gives us reason to be confident right now. When God is about to work something great for his people, the devil sees this better than we do and all hell breaks loose, with its full arsenal of temptations and terrors.
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” Rest in the knowledge that something great is coming. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next year. But it’s coming.
In the meantime, things may get harder for a while. But, again, ”Let not your hearts be troubled.” We need instead to lean into our prayer, do more of it, and do it more attentively. We need to increase our study and find more opportunities for witness.
We need to repent of our own sins, confess them, and put them behind us. Unless you and I struggle more effectively against the sins that plague us, how can we honestly expect our leaders to be decent?
Something great is coming from God. In fact, I think it’s already here. I am astonished by the number of seminarians who have told me — or told the world through social media — that they are more determined than ever to become faithful holy priests.
“Let not your hearts be troubled.” The worst is behind us. We can be sure of that. It happened on a hilltop in Jerusalem when God’s enemies used your sins and mine to nail our Savior to the cross.
The last human hope died that day. But it rose, unimaginably greater, with Jesus on the third day.
Jesus rises again in his body, the Church. He rises in you and me as we repent and renew our commitment to him and to one another.