Christian living is paradoxical even as the life of Jesus was. It is in giving that we receive, it is in serving that we rule, it is the last who becomes first, it is in dying that we are born to life eternal, it is in getting into one’s mother’s womb that one gets reborn from the very start or born again!
Life is constant change from within and from without from the very start; hence the saying: “We don’t have a lasting city here below!” Any lasting ones in or above the heavens? You are welcome to dream about!
It is in this context that we say that the CHURCH MUST DIE BEFORE IT CAN RISE AGAIN, if it is following its master JESUS or at least thinks seriously of imitating him! Corona Virus is helping these multiplicity of scattered competing Churches led by the Catholic Church, to do just that!
No matter by what different names the Churches call themselves (of course Jesus did not ever found the church!) the first thing to make sure is that they are a communities of Jesus the Jew, a revolutionary par excellence from the age of 12. From then to when he became 30, his life became a riddle for 18 years, for humans to comprehend. That we leave to the fighting churches to go on endlessly or to end or mend amicably!
Catholic & Hierarchical
Yes, all Churches have their special traits. But the Catholic church alone has the full hierarchical, imperial, worldly power structure of a Constantine the emperor which makes it an eye-sore beside a very simple country-bred, humane-looking Jesus. Ruling over or dominating others with power, perks, privileges, worldly honorific titles and luxurious living without sweating, is an insult to the life and culture of Jesus the Carpenter! All admit, don’t they?
Born in a cattle shed and brought up in ordinary circumstances, “What good can come from Nazareth?” was the comment of his days. From 12 to 30 there was a long interlude with no herculean doings to his credit. What is said of him was that he hadn’t even a place of his own to rest his head unlike the birds of the air or foxes in the wild.
During his public life he was just an ordinary (unlike our Ordinaries with capital Os) among the most ordinary people, unworldly to the core, befriending the poor, sick, down trodden. He went about flaunting the flag SON OF MAN to equate himself with all humans as brothers and sisters, thus wiping out every trace of hierarchical positions of power which creates all inequalities! It is this power structure that the Catholic church should crush to smithereens and dump in the Arabian sea!
In the risen life after the Corona there must never be any one to be called Rabbi, Master, Father, Teacher because we are all just brothers only (Mt.23,6-12) There can be, no rising to a new life, WITHOUT FIRST DYING TO HOW ONE LIVED BEFORE!
Otherwise it would be a repeat of the life Church lived before the arrival of Corona — a repeat of all series of rituals without giving a dam thought to what those rituals were meant to convey, a repeat of clergy sex, their criminal cover up, criminal silence, criminal climbing up to reach the top rung of the hierarchical ladder. This is not dying to, what and how the Church lived before the arrival of Corona.
Before the epidemic priests celebrated Mass with communities of different size, now during the lockdown they do it alone. After the lockdown and after the Corona is gone, one would imagine the Church would fall back into the old habit more comfortably with a vengeance.
One smart liberal theologian priest, Massimo Faggioli compared Mass without community, saying, it is like masturbation, a form of 'liturgical Onanism' doing it alone, so no good or bad is produced. It doesn't produce a new life any way, nor is it capable of doing it, being a one man act to get personal relief!
For Jesus his actions from his trial before Pilot to crucifixion, it was his preaching with action on how to “bear the cross and win the crown”; how one is to bear witness to truth and how one is to lay down one’s life for his brothers: “If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go free.”(Jn.17.9) he had said. Do any of us imitate that example in our daily life while serving our neighbour in similar need?
Lent, stage performance!
For the Church Lent, Holy Week, death and resurrection are not, what you and I are called upon to do, but dramatic stage performances, the hierarchical church make for the unthinking, credulous and blind laity to go through in a stage performance for money collection. They don't become, nor are they intended to become part of the life of the performers. The laity are just actors on the stage only!
Those who think Corona will end soon and we all can get back to our old ways are mistaken because Corona is nature’s choice. And this punishing ordeal is not going to go away until it has made sure that the victim, the incorrigible Church, is really dead for sure never to rise again to do another mimicry, this hypocritical stage performances to fool themselves and the public.
Self inflicted punishment
The present "shut-down-way-of-the-cross" is not Church's choice, but nature’s mortal blow befallen on a wayward Church that has gone too worldly beyond repair or correction. The Lord of Truth, Love, Lght and Justice, wants this Church to make sure it is DEAD for sure to its old ways. Its rising up to a new life is to be one of love as brothers and sisters in a united human family of caring and sharing!. That is how I am persuaded to think of it.
Therefore unless and until CHURCH & CHURCH MEN change radically THEIR ways of divide and rule to dominate, there may not be any deliverance from the present Corona Shut Down. After all, don't we all KNOW there is enough and much more on this God's earth for every one's NEED, only not for every one's GREED!
Start Caring & Sharing!
So please stop being GREEDY, start SHARING and CARING feeding the hungry to their stomachs' full, following Kerala's treatment of ATHIDI WORKERS (Migrant workers = Athidi Devo Bhava)! What a stunning application of Jesus' vision by a Communist government, praised by the whole world. Is it too impossible an ideal for the Syro-Malabar church to do it in Kerala? Let no one starve on this God's Earth, because to preach this Good News first, he appeared in Nazareth!
Forget for good the thought that the Church can dream of remaining exactly the same as it was before COVID-19 lock-down came into force. It can never hope of doing that, is my firm conviction! May I be proved wrong for the sake of those who think otherwise, I pray!