We are reminded of these failures all the time, it seems. Lately, many have been disheartened by the moral lapses of a prominent young priest who, when caught, leaves the Church rather than repent. Many, many more have been scandalized by the reports of horrific crimes perpetrated on children by priests and religious and by the failure of leaders in the Church to deal with these crimes.
Two thousand years of failures by the very human leaders and members of the Church.
Yet God continues to be present and work in and through this Church.
This has some resonance with what Saint Paul says in today’s first reading (2 Corinthians 4:7-15):
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God
and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way,
but not constrained;
but not driven to despair;
but not abandoned;
but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body
the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus
may also be manifested in our body.
May we deal prudently, conscientiously, and faithfully with failures – working to heal their effects and to prevent their recurrence – and may we also find comfort and strength in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who shines His light and spreads His love in the world through earthen vessels like ourselves.