Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Violent and Abusive
Today's reading from the Office of Readings is about the Golden Calf and God's rage at the people of Israel, Moses placates it but himself destroys and burns the Golden Calf and grinds it to dust, scatters the dust on the waters and makes the people drink it. It is just one of the times when the God presented to us in the OT is filled with anger against his people. The prophets were certainly often consumed with "zeal for his house"
Jesus has a moment of rage in the Temple when zeal for his Father's house consumes him, when he drives out the money changers and with the Pharisees, his interpersonal seem to have something to be desired.
The Gospel today has Peter asking how often he should forgive his brother; I wonder whether he is asking in some general way, or specifically whether Andrew, his brother and fellow Apostle, has been particularly annoying and Peter is asking explicitly about their relationship.
Jesus answers by telling a story about an irascible master who is going to sell a debtor and his family into slavery, who then relents after much pleading but then hearing about the mistreatment of another servant has him handed over to the torturers. Jesus' message to Peter is forgive your brother because you yourself have been forgiven a great deal.
Ches has an interesting and thoughtful post on the O'Brien affair setting it in the context of a survey on "religious guilt", he suggests the problem is that the Church has failed to teach about morality. Celebrating the Traditional Mass every Sunday, I can't help being struck by how often the Epistle refers to the evil of "fornication", "adultery" and last Sunday, "sin that should not even be mentioned among you", these extracts seem to be rare in the OF Lectionary, or is that just my lack of attention?
Though Jesus tells Peter to forgive, he also tells the Apostles to "preach repentance", "teaching", "bring back a brother who errs" and to "correct error"; forgiveness and teaching seem to go hand in hand.
The Fathers, the Saints too seemed to be by today's standards violent, even abusive in their teaching of the faith, in their refutation of heresy and their denunciation of sacrilegious behaviour.
Against this we have to set love but then "love" seems to have been reformed to something passionless, and reduced to variation of tolerance. Has there been a feminisation or even lavenderisation, certainly a de-Christianisation of "love".
Posted by Fr Ray Blake