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Thursday, July 23, 2009

... by our Love

At my home church, the ASU Newman Center, the Dominicans were recently asked by the bishop to leave. The reason given was that the bishop would like to tap into the college population for potential vocations. Who knows what other factors played into the decision (though a lot of angry people seem to think they know.)

Having grown up in this church, it truly saddens me to see Fr. Fred and the whole Dominican order leave, as they've had a legacy of great preaching (which is sometimes hard to find) and witnessing to the faith in ways that really bring it to life.

But what saddens me even more is seeing the reaction that some have had to the news. With much speculation and slander of the bishop, we seem to be doing a poor job of loving our neighbor, as we so often heard preached at the Newman Center. Did Jesus not tell us that people will know that we are his disciples by our love for one another? (Jn 13:35) If that is true, it may be questionable to some right now if we are Christians at all.

I know that transition is always hard, but I think it is almost embarrassing how much of the community has responded in less-than-Christian ways. Is this sort of division and attack of our Christian family and Church leaders what we have learned from the Dominicans? I hope not. The fact is, there is nothing wrong about the Bishop's decision. It simply happens to be one that many of us did not personally like. But who ever said that being a Catholic Christian is about doing and getting what you like? Certainly not Jesus.

I pray that rather than our community being torn apart, we would come together, seeking to make the best of the situation, to accept and embrace this change and to put our own wishes and desires aside so that in unity with the whole Church, we may grow in the love of Christ, working together to proclaim the Gospel.

"(L)ive in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit" (Second reading for Sunday, July 26. Eph 4:1-4)