What are your parishioners looking for?

What are your parishioners looking for?

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Some church leaders have proposed that the solution for stemming the rise in the number of those leaving the Catholic church is more rigorous, undiluted teaching of the faith. They call this evangelization. However it’s really a kind of apologetics that reduces the mystery of salvation into rational proofs and dogmatic statements.

Yet for the person facing the darkness of death, this leaves no room for doubt, and thus no place for genuine faith. For death is not rational. You cannot argue it away. It stinks, and it hurts. Those facing death are not looking for better teaching. They’re looking for someone to believe in.

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Jesus did not ask Martha and Mary for understanding of his teachings or an analysis of his eschatological propositions. He did not present a lesson plan on the resurrection. He revealed himself to those in need and asked them to believe in him.

We cannot transmit faith through a program. Faith is caught by curiosity in the grieving woman who professes, “I know my brother will rise again.” It is witnessed by a community who mourns its own brokenness yet still believes in the one who saves. When we come to the baptismal tomb this Easter, we and our elect will be asked to profess faith not in a teaching but in the one who has the words of eternal life.

 

This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”

 

 

Image credit: Aron Visuals, Unsplash, CC0.

 

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