Ordinary Time, 31st Sunday (A) In today's reading, the priests have "...turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by your instruction." God says, "I, therefore, have made you contemptible and base before all the people." And finally, the people themselves, "break faith with one another,
violating the covenant of our fathers."

Imagine what would happen if the doctors kept changing their teachings on healthy living to match whatever unhealthy habits were popular at the moment. We know what healthy sexuality looks like, but we priests are not teaching the truth for fear of what people might say. Consequently, the priests themselves have been terribly disgraced in this very area. And the people are suffering from broken marriage covenants.

I'm not here to make you feel bad. I want to apologize for at least five different ways your priests have failed you:

  1. Priests haven't been fathers. Your priests need to be, "warm demanders." How many priests have you known that really lived up to the name of "Father"?
  2. Priests haven't been good at teaching chastity because they haven't been good at living chastity.
  3. Priests haven't explained, "Why." There wasn't a good answer to this question until the Theology of the Body by St. John Paul II. He teaches that my sexuality is a gift that is meant to be given away, and not used for myself.
  4. Priests haven't walked with people who are struggling. We need to both teach the rules and also accompany people on the journey to healing and wholeness so they can live chastity well, without repressing or indulging.
  5. Priests need to do a better job introducing people to a friendship with Jesus. Friendship with Jesus has been to source of guidance, healing, and peace for me.

In this day and age, the biggest thing holding the Church back from experiencing new life in Christ is not being good stewards of the gift of our sexuality. I'm not here to throw stones. I want to help you get the healing that you need to allow you to experience the freedom and peace of true chastity.

(5 Nov 2023)

Going Deeper: Do you agree with Fr. Joel's definition of healthy sexuality? Why or why not?

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