Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No man has the mind of Christ, except him who makes it his business to obey him

Sometimes we don't need another chance to express how we feel or to ask someone to understand our situation. Sometimes we just need a firm kick in the pants. An unsmiling expectation that if we mean all these wonderful things we talk about and sing about, then lets see something to prove it. --Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Theologian &  Martyr)

Gospel text (Mt 5:17-19): Jesus said to his disciples, «Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to remove but to fulfill them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or stroke of the Law will change until all is fulfilled. So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them and teaches others to do the same will be great in the kingdom of heaven».

When Jesus turned over the money changer’s tables in the Temple (Mt 21:12-13) he was giving a radical witness to the truth, and we should remember that the gospel is never good news unless it is radical. The word "radical" comes from the Latin word "radix" which means "root". To be radical is to go back to the basics. It is to get back to what is essential. To believe and live a radical Catholic faith, therefore, is to get back to the basic, table turning, upside down life of Jesus of Nazareth.

In her important book Forming Intentional Disciples Sherry Weddell explains that an "intentional disciple" is someone who has encountered the table turning Jesus and taken a step of complete and total commitment to him. The intentional disciple then lives a radically different life to those in the world around him. The intentional disciple lives the gospel and proclaims the gospel through a life transformed by the risen Christ.

Some Catholics worry that this sort of radical Catholicism is fanatical Catholicism. They see Catholics who are either "sold out" or "110% Catholic" and they are scared away. We don't need fanatical Catholics, but we do need radical Catholics. That is, they have gone back to the roots of the religion and found Christ the Lord--the one who “turns over the tables” and shows us how to live lives of complete and profound unity with himself.

Radical Catholicism is real Catholicism. It is both gritty and glorious, humble and happy, beautiful and blessed, simple and splendid--and it is not only radical, it is radiant.

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