On each one of us God’s favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ allotted it. That is why it says: He went up to the heights, took captives, he gave gifts to humanity. When it says, ‘he went up’, it must mean that he had gone down to the deepest levels of the earth. The one who went down is none other than the one who went up above all the heavens to fill all things. And to some, his ‘gift’ was that they should be apostles; to some prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; to knit God’s holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. Then we shall no longer be children, or tossed one way and another, and carried hither and thither by every new gust of teaching, at the mercy of all the tricks people play and their unscrupulousness in deliberate deception. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.
First of all, the apostle speaks of the building up of the body of Christ for which God has established various ministries. All these are to work together so that “we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God”.
Here, unfortunately, we must already stop and complain to Paul that this is no longer the case. The binding doctrine is obviously no longer taken seriously by quite a few Catholics, and more and more statements are being heard and actions are being taken which are distancing themselves from the teaching authority and the Gospel. But if there is no agreement here, then the knowledge of the Son of God is also darkened, a shadow is cast over us. This prevents us from maturing into perfect human beings and from presenting Christ in his perfect form.
So if the word of Paul is to be realised, we must be very careful to remain faithful to the traditional teaching of the Church, so that we are not at the mercy of deceit and are not led astray. It is part of the maturation of the person to hold on to a recognised truth and not to let it be called into question again (e.g. by the logical speculation or false compassion or other circumstances). It must be made clear that many false teachers are currently appearing who want to adapt the thinking and actions of the church to the world. It is a thorn in their side that the church clings to positions which are outdated for them today, because the “world” thinks differently. They confuse the faithful, especially when the irritations come from those who are called to serve the building up of the body in a special way.
Paul gives us the decisive advice on how to deal with such difficult situations.
We want to stick to the truth, carried by love, as he says in today’s text.
We can also call his words – certainly with his agreement – love for truth. Adhering to the teaching and thus to the truth is an expression of great love and faithfulness to God. It was precisely what God wanted from his people, namely to remain faithful to him, his word, his promises, his declaration of love for his people.
Love of the truth!
To be rooted in the truth means no longer to be driven to and fro, to be a play of waves and to remain underage. It is the truth, Jesus Himself (cf. Jn 14:6), who then anchors Himself in us and holds us in Himself when the deceptions and lies approach us. Our divine friend (the Holy Spirit) will then remind us what the Lord has said (cf. Jn 14:26)– and we can turn away from the deception.
I am putting these lines down as I am just now receiving the news that Pope Francis has made some statements concerning homosexuality which do not agree with the Church’s Magisterium and have thus caused great unrest among the faithful.
It is still too recent at this time to be able to examine everything thoroughly.
Those who have known my interpretations for a longer time know that I am critical of the Pontiff’s ministry, without rejecting or even attacking his person. But the Pope, like all of us, must also follow the teaching of the Church. If this were not the case in the new statements, the damage would be very great.
It would then update for us what has just been discussed in this reflection. Our answer would then be: We want to be guided by love and hold to the truth. This lies in the Holy Scriptures and in the authentic teaching authority. Nobody, not even an angel from heaven can change this (cf. Gal 1,8), he would be a fallen angel to whom we do not listen!