In chapter five of Matthew's Gospel, shortly after the Beatitudes, we are told that we must be Holy as our Father in heaven is Holy. The readings from St. Paul these last few weeks have been from his 'Life in the Spirit' section. "What can separate us from the love of God," he will ask us. Today's selection reminds us that God's invitation to holiness is offered far and wide to all peoples. In matter of fact God pours out upon us every grace and blessing that we might have the resources to follow His guidance and directions. After all we do not want to be left outside wailing and gnashing.
There seems to be a contradiction here. God's call is sent out to everyone, and didn't Jesus forgive sinners and other sort of terrible folk? This is true, but the key words here are goodness and truth. Jesus' Good News calls people to conversion and discipleship. God sends us his Son, the laws and the prophets so as to live in the Kingdom and find light, happiness, and peace. In subtle yet significant wording the ones who actually find fulfillment in the Kingdom, are the seekers, the ones who sell everything to possess the treasury of God, those who are seemingly rotten who cause the bread to rise, and the good fish who show up in the net.
It is common practice today to wag our fingers at the Church since it's teachings and lifestyle seem so out of sync. Some see the Church as unraveling, and dying on the vine. The Church should get with it. The Gospel message is counter-cultural and is a challenge to our society today. The Church continues to change in relationship to its ministries and practicalities. But it continues to proclaim the Paschal mystery, enable conversion, evangelize, teach, preach and sanctify. The dignity of life and the call to holiness will always be part of the Church's teachings.
We continue to be fishers of men and women, drawing folks together by our proclamation of the Gospel. Wherever we are we are making the name of Jesus known, and his promise of the kingdom. There is a real challenge for us today to stand up straight, and to boldly profess our faith.