“Boy oh boy, do I ever miss the good ole days”. You seem to hear that when things are not going well, and usually from older people…like me. “Harry, this sure isn’t like the good ole days …. remember when you could get a gallon of gas for 25 cents and people’s word was their bond. Why I remember when …… bla, bla, bla.” Well, I’m not sure that the “good ole days” were always so good.
We may hear “wow, so many things are confused in the church today…. there are a lot of different voices speaking for the church…. gee, I wish we were just back in the “good old days, back to the days of the early church when things were a lot simpler and there wasn’t all this disagreement on the will of God.” Well, truth be told, things were pretty messy from the very beginning in the church. The early church was frequently in some sort of turmoil.
In the mass readings this week, we read about arguments over Jewish law applying to new Gentile converts (Acts. 15:1-6). At the council of Jerusalem, it was decided that “Gentile converts to Christianity were not obligated to keep most of the fasts, and other specific rituals, including the rules concerning circumcision of males”. The Council of Jerusalem was the first of many councils called over the years by the church leaders to address various problems. It was a “bumpy road” as they worked thru tough issues where people had very strong opinions. They met to try and figure out what was God’s direction and will on the these matters.
While the “clarifications” on disagreements may have taken days or weeks or months, the “embracing” of the clarifications often took many years. In some cases, they were never fully accepted and you had on-going conflict and even schisms where the church was split. Unfortunately this has gone on for over 2,000 years.
So, what are we to do as we see this turmoil continuing in 2021…what are we to think? Well, first of all, remember that it’s been going on for quite a while and will continue until the Lord returns. Jesus told us that the weeds will grow up with the wheat until harvest, and then he will sort it out at the end.
And for our part we must stand with the truth which is not always easy. May the Lord help us to form our conscience well by paying close to the key documents like the scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Over the last 2,000 years many important decisions have been summarized in assorted church documents like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1997. Thank God for all the good men and women who sorted out these many issues.
And we have good priests and bishops who can help guide us as things get messy. The Holy Spirit will help us. He’s in the habit of “bringing order out of chaos”. And let’s remember that the Lord will never abandon us, but will always show us the way home.
The “good ole days” are now because it’s the time we are living and the Holy Spirit is at work. So, let’s smile and enjoy seeing the Lord bring order out of chaos…. and by the way, all will be well with our souls.