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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Reflecting on Ephesians 4:30-5:2

I really like our Next Door Digest, a neighborly check-in that alerts adjacent zip codes about lost pets, stolen catalytic converters, and the most HEAVENLY peach pie recipes.

The thing I like best are the comments. Unlike the vicious comments attached to so many online stories, our neighbors always have something uplifting and gracious to add: So glad you found your dog! This kindergarten sounds perfect for our child—thanks for posting!

I am so used to being around people who are “kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving,” that the “fury, anger, shouting, and reviling” that goes on in just about every publication still shocks me.

Most shocking of all is that this vitriol exists in Catholic online stories. This is such a terrible witness to Christ that I’m shocked all over again that, after being subjected to it,  there is a single believer standing. One wonders what the Church Father Tertullian would think, since he so famously wrote, “these Christians, see how they love one another.”

From whence does this ugly rhetoric spring? I have my own suspects, but certainly the rudeness and mean-spiritedness of those who take the time to respond to stories about politicians, those who set public policy, and just about any story about the Church, reflects the increasing coarseness of our society.

But maybe it’s not “increasing” at all. (Tertullian himself was no shrinking violet when it came to speaking his mind.) Every age has its violence. But we who believe should be a beacon of light, a warm sauna of love and kindness, like that angel who brought food and drink to Elijah in the desert. That’s a living, radical faith.

How are you living a counter-cultural, radical faith?

Kathy McGovern ©2021

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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