Some people perceive Valentine's Day to be an economic holiday which enhances business at local florists, bakeries, and greeting card companies. It is possible that this writer may subscribe to that philosophy, but I would never admit that in writing. (I'll be back in a minute. I need to go order flowers for my wife.)
As I read the news headlines each day in the secular world and in the inner circle of the Church, I yearn for civility and a little love in our political discourse. I intentionally used the words "political discourse" because it seems that everything is now viewed through a political lens regardless of the topic. Social media is anything but social since the last presidential campaign. It is now a political venting machine. I clicked off this morning after seeing that Ivanka Trump sat in the desk chair of the president in the Oval Office. Let's have a meltdown on social media over her sitting in her dad's desk chair. Seriously?
Unfortunately, the divide in the Church seems to grow more with each passing day as well. Posters in Rome against the pope show a sharp divide between conservatives and the papacy. Hitting the four-year mark of Pope Benedict's "resignation" on February 11, also reignited some of the conspiracy theories as to why he left the papacy. Some laud the pastoral approach approach of Pope Francis. Others think he is changing Church doctrine. Some think that if you disagree with the pope you get demoted. Enter the name of Cardinal Burke as a reference point. Cardinal Burke is in the news on a frequent basis. He gets positive press from the conservative outlets and sharp criticism from the left. Where is the truth in all of it?
Bishop Barron is now in the hotseat for some of his comments in an interview with Dave Rubin. Were his comments helpful for evangelization, or did he simply miss an opportunity to teach the faith? The answer to that question will depend upon the viewpoint of the person being asked.
The divisions within the Church are nothing new, but I will admit that it is a bit exhausting to follow all of it. It breaks my heart to see some of the pain and confusion generated by some of these stories. We have a long way to go to be "one flock under one shepherd."
I am looking forward to the season of Lent. My schedule is full with more than 30 preaching and teaching opportunities from March 2, through April 5. I will be entering into these weeks of penitence with great anticipation of seeing the Lord move powerfully within our midst. That will be a welcome reprieve from the political in-fighting of the Church that sometimes diminishes the beauty of God's grace in our lives.
We are two weeks away from the start of Lent and five weeks away from the start of spring. Let the sun shine. Let the snow melt and the grass turn green. Let the Light of Christ shine in our hearts!