A Response to "Letter to a Suffering Church"/An Invitation to "Solidarity of the Faiths"
Our offering a couple of weeks ago, Bishop Robert Barron's "Letter to a Suffering Church" has drawn a great deal of response from our parishioners. I would like to share one that I think has additional food for reflection:
I have read Bishop Barron’s
Letter to a Suffering Church
, and offer the following commentary. I find that today people no longer have to invent excuses for not attending Mass or for their corrupt lifestyles, now they can blame it on a sinful Church-a fiery boat. Who chooses to go down with the burning ship? Definitely not those who have already chosen that path. I believe that this is not the time to offer excuses but a time for action? From us – the Church, the body of Christ.
Excuses aside I see this time in the church as a great opportunity for us to make things right. To become holy. An opportunity to rise above the sin and take on righteousness. A time for all of us to repent and scrutinize our lives and become the people God intended us to be. Am I horrified that some chose this path to perdition? Yes, I never could have dreamed that my Church would become so damaged; so immoral. But really, is it the Church? Or is it individuals who put their faith aside and cooperated with evil to create the chaos that we are in now.
The times are calling us to be who we were created to be. I believe this is a period where we need to access the Spirit’s power within each of us. To live intentionally holy. To find the “Saints” within us. To come together to be church together, maybe in a new way, but in a deliberate way. We must remember the common vision of Church and that we are anointed to overcome the challenging crises of our times. God is in the midst of this mess and he is calling each of us out. We are to bask in his marvelous light, cooperating with the grace given to each of us and seek the living God. To have a different world, we must become different people. Not people of excuses but people on a mission – a mission of renewal, revitalization and recovery.
Reflecting on Bishop Barron’s statement “why should we stay?” I am reminded of the reading from Matthew’s gospel about the weeds and the wheat. In this parable Jesus is the one who sows the wheat. He it is who is in charge. He it is who gathers the wheat to himself. He it is that throws the wheat into the burning fire. We are those seeds left to grow among the weeds; and grow we do. But we must not forget who the sower is – the all mighty, all powerful, ever loving God. He will not let a hair on our heads be damaged.
In I Corinthians, Paul says: “You fool….
But God gives it a body as he has designed, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.…
“what you sow is not the body that will be…… The seed planted is good seed, made to nurture and grow into the likeness of the sower. Planted in good soil and taken well care of until we reach the age of reason. And yes, there is the “rub,” until we reach the age of reason. Do I think there was an evil infiltration – yes I do but I also know that God is in charge and that he gives us a way out. Maybe he is so silent because we are not really listening. We need to open our ears and use the means he has given us to resist temptation. He has bestowed so many ways on us to resist evil–the Mass; the Sacraments; Prayer; Community – all the great and wonderful things that the Church is.
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13,14)
Bishop Barron says in his letter that it is “a cry from the heart,” and we need to hear that, but in the end we will raise our own cry and it will be a battle cry as the people of God and we will be the victors with Christ our Lord. We must stand and face the music and bring the Church back to what Jesus first intended. We must not forget those who have been hurt and shattered, but we must provide means for them to heal not desert them. We must not abandon them but be brave, not turn away but enter in. Enter in and change the gross evil that has been created. I believe we can do it.
Bishop Barron says: “The devil with lots of cooperation by people inside the leadership of the church has produced a masterpiece.” But we can repaint the landscape….we can each of us do our part to raise our voices and not be the silent pew goer but the doctors and nurses who tend to the sick and injured and restore the church of Jesus Christ. One that the “gates of hell cannot prevail against”.
And we will while echoing the verse from Colossians 3:11b
Jesus is my all in all
You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all
If you were unable to pick up a copy and you are comfortable with reading in electronic format, you can obtain a copy for $0.99 (or, if you a member of Kindle Unlimited, for free) on Amazon at
There is simply never a good reason to leave the Church. Never. Good reasons to criticize Church people? Plenty. Legitimate reasons to be angry with corruption, stupidity, careerism, cruelty, greed, and sexual misconduct on the part of leaders of the Church? You bet. But grounds for turning away from the grace of Christ in which eternal life is found? No. Never, under any circumstances.
Most Rev. Robert Barron, Letter to a Suffering Church
Solidarity of the Faiths
Beth Am Shalom
St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church
Congregation B’nai Israel
St. Thomas Lutheran Church
First Baptist Church of Laurelton
Temple Beth Or
Living Faith Bible Church
Visitation Roman Catholic Church
St. Dominic’s Parish Roman Catholic Church
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
and Brick Mayor John Ducey
Enjoy the interfaith comedy of
followed by dining at the Food Court.
“… a performance that left all races, colors and creeds weeping from laughter” --- SunSentinel
Sunday, August 18, 2019
at 4:00 PM
$20 in advance
$25 at the
(children ages 11-15: free when accompanied by an adult)
Optional Food Court: $18 per person (all ages) includes all food stations (menu to follow) – advance purchase preferred
Temple Beth Or
200 Van Zile Road, Brick, NJ 08724 (corner of Route 70 and Van Zile Road)
Purchase tickets online at
or send check payable to Temple Beth Or with your name and address and specify the number of Comedy Show and Food Court tickets being ordered.
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
Audio (59 minutes) -
The Battle Within: Sin and How to Fight It
Jeff Cavins, an internationally-recognized authority on Scripture, provides an ultra-practical guide on how to battle sin in the areas of our lives where we tend to fall, and he helps us examine the root causes of our sin in order to understand the “why” behind our actions.
In this presentation, Jeff explains four major wounds that exist as part of our human nature, and he equips his listeners with three “secret weapons” we can use to help us effectively overcome sin and serve the Lord from a place of freedom and love.
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Fr. Ed Blanchett
on Friday, August 16 at 3:00PM