Reflection & Dialogue: Christ and the mystery of the Church

The world of Paul and the young Christian community at Corinth may seem far removed from today’s Church and the problems confronting it. And yet, despite the differences from the political and social points of view Paul’s words continue to address us today, since divine mysteries know no difference in time. And the Church today is a divine mystery, just as it was in Paul’s day. She is properly understood not through human wisdom, but through faith. For some time now the Church has attracted media attention by reason of the many scandals within it. Sometimes the Church is spoken of as if it were corrupt. In such discussion the Church is regarded only as if it were a merely human institution, the “institutional” Church. It is criticized at time by members of the clergy, among other groups.

            It is understandable and indicated that that weaknesses and scandals within the Church be criticized. But believers should realize that these are part of the human side of the Church. One should not forget that the Church remains God’s holy Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit and part of the divine mystery. As such she is not, and cannot be, corrupt. She continues to preach the good news of salvation to God’s holy people, who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit live in accordance with God’s word. Any criticism by believers should bear these truths in mind. Paul’s words to the Corinthians, read in the second reading today, still merit reflection: the Church, as the Temple of God, is holy. It is a serious matter to damage it.

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