Often I run into people who have left the Church for one reason or another. Their biggest complaint is that we are not “welcoming” enough, but I suspect the real reason is that they simply don’t want to follow the teachings of the Church! Believe it or not, there are song lyrics that describe this situation perfectly! Leslie Gore sang about this years ago on in her song “You don’t own me.” A few of the famous lyrics are: “don’t tell me what to do….don’t tell me what to say…” In recent years this song has been redone on YouTube by Klaus Nomi. If you’re looking for a good laugh some time, folks, download this and watch it! If you happen to be driving, I recommend you pull off to the side of the road until the song is over; you’ll be laughing too hard.
The fundamental presumption nowadays—especially due to our wonderful United States Media—-is that the Pastor is a dictator and is bossing everyone within the parish boundaries “telling” people how to live their lives. Well..in my opinion, that is not the goal. A good pastor and a good preacher state the truths of the Catholic faith…which is his job…or he gets chewed out at the judgment seat of Christ for not preaching the truth by misleading his flock at a later date. None of us are perfect…we all fall short of the mark…but a good homily, if done well, will at least clear up some misunderstandings about the true teachings of Jesus Christ and how to apply it to our everyday situations.
Our relationships with each other are tough work if they are to succeed.
There are misunderstandings that occurred between Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I often wonder why Jesus didn’t tell his parents that he was staying in the temple for some time because he wanted to chat with the Rabbis? He was only 12 years old, however, the age of 12 was legal age in Israel 2018 years ago. Nobody would have even given it a second thought about his parents searching for him! Have you ever had a conversation with your friends that seemed like it was only 5 minutes, only to discover that 2-3 hours went by? Yes, my dear friends, studying Sacred Scripture is anything but boring!
Mary and Joseph must have been worried sick. Was Jesus dead? Did anybody steal him? No cell phones back then, so nobody could have done an Amber Alert. So they retrace their steps very carefully. Did you ever lose something for days, and were on the verge of pulling your hair out? Even though praying to St. Anthony didn’t work? So the frantic search ends back at the temple and Mary takes charge. “Why have you done this to us?” Only to have Jesus respond “Well…duh…don’t you know you can always find me here about my Father’s business?” And then we’re told they don’t understand what he just said.
Very often we are in the same situation. We can’t make sense out of what Jesus says to us. Just a blank stare is all we can do and say “Huh? This doesn’t make sense.” Just like those people who leave the Church due to them thinking that the rules Jesus made for his house don’t make any sense. Even though today’s “Rabbis” try their best to explain how following Jesus’ rules are the best way to obtain eternal life, they still close their ears and eyes and say “I don’t wanna hear it.” Even after they were baptized, were baptism opens their eyes and ears so they can hear and see these things, they just don’t wanna hear it. They miss out on living a Christ-centered life…they wander for three days or more farther and farther from Christ…even though Jesus and Mary are searching after them to bring them back to the temple…they still say to Jesus and Mary and Joesph: “Don’t tell me want to do….don’t tell me what to say…”