Typically when I read gospel texts, or writings from the Old Testament, my first thoughts almost always drift toward the time in which they were written. I tend to view them in light of the issues that were important or controversial back then. Not so with today’s readings though. Today’s readings immediately have me thinking in modern, contemporary terms. I vividly see the current Church Synod taking place through these recent scriptures. Paul’s letter opens “Brothers and sisters: Realize that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham.” Children of Abraham are those who place their faith in God. In modern times they are the Church and Paul is defending and defining that Church’s doctrine. In the second reading lies that famous quote “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” The crowd, in seeing Jesus good works, accuse him of being in cahoots with the devil. Jesus reply is “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” That house today also is the Church. Christ makes that statement as good comes from good. Paul’s letter is a declaration of faith, it is faith in Jesus Christ the son of God. That is the foundation of the church.
In that synod, which really is nothing more than a microcosm of the polarity and varieties of today’s society, is that house facing division. Those demons that Christ drove out 2000 plus years ago are still around, and again Christ’s church must go about its role as healer. Those bishops today have to decide if they should keep their faith in Christ, or follow many contemporary and influential members of society, and take the view that Christianity is the work of Beelzubul. Should they stand by the Catechism of the Church, or should they embrace what they had once called the sins of society? In that synod, as in life, there are polarizing views. There are those that rally around traditional teaching, and then there are the modern progressives. The problem though is that each side and either side paints the opposite as the evil one. Bringing about that healing is no easy task.
Of course anyone who has worked in politics can understand that for there to be a meaningful discussion, all sides of an argument need to be presented. People in politics though also must realize that often there are people working behind the scene who have an interest in the outcome of that argument; they wish to spin the issue in their favor. The question today though is who is biasing that argument, who is influencing what those bishops hear and say? There are so many outside groups that have an interest in what that Church stance is on many family issues, and many of those outside groups are bluntly not Christian. Many though do control media, and secular politics, and secular institutions. They do indeed have the power to sway opinion, and they in fact do so for their livelihood. That trick is the devil of deception, evil is veiled as traditionally good and good is painted as evil. It is difficult to separate that wheat from weeds simply because of the powers of deception. None of this detracts from the real need for those bishops to hear from their flock, or from those who were once counted among that flock, or even those who simply desire to be included. It only points to the extreme difficulties that Synod on the Family likely faces. It is the same confusion that caused people to view good works as the power of the devil.
I pray those bishops remember what Jesus Christ said: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” By the power of Christ, I have faith those demons will be driven out, and that the Synod on the Family will have a meaningful Christian outcome. That Christian guidance is so needed to offset the same type synod that has been raging in the political landscape and mass media for years.