Today's First Reading from the Office of Readings (2 Corinthians 12:14-13:13) is worth a repeated reading in the light of the twists and turns public discourse in the media concerning the Catholic Church is taking once again these days. There's a medial "lobby" out there which once again is pushing a postmodernist consensual model (least common denominator) for politics and society, as if truth and justice were negotiable. The enormity of it all, of course, is the troubling fact that this agenda is touted by journalists with Irish and Italian family names, who claim to be more Catholic than the Pope. You choose which Pope (emeritus or reigning) and see which one of them doesn't see in these journalists (without condemning them as persons, of course) proponents of that death-dealing "dictatorship of relativism", which denies us truth and God in Christ, just for starters. Dear St. Paul from this morning's breviary, then:
"I am all prepared now to come to you for the third time, and I am not going to be a burden on you: it is you I want, not your possessions. Children are not expected to save up for their parents, but parents for children. I am perfectly willing to spend what I have, and to be expended, in the interests of your souls. Because I love you more, must I be loved the less?
All very well, you say: I personally put no pressure on you, but like the cunning fellow that I am, I took you in by a trick. So we exploited you, did we, through one of the men that I have sent to you? Well, Titus went at my urging, and I sent the brother that came with him. Can Titus have exploited you? You know that he and I have always been guided by the same spirit and trodden in the same tracks.
All this time you have been thinking that our defence is addressed to you, but it is before God that we, in Christ, are speaking; and it is all, my dear brothers, for your benefit. What I am afraid of is that when I come I may find you different from what I want you to be, and you may find that I am not as you would like me to be; and then there will be wrangling, jealousy, and tempers roused, intrigues and backbiting and gossip, obstinacies and disorder. I am afraid that on my next visit, my God may make me ashamed on your account and I shall be grieving over all those who sinned before and have still not repented of the impurities, fornication and debauchery they committed.
This will be the third time I have come to you. The evidence of three, or at least two, witnesses is necessary to sustain the charge. I gave warning when I was with you the second time and I give warning now, too, before I come, to those who sinned before and to any others, that when I come again, I shall have no mercy. You want proof, you say, that it is Christ speaking in me: you have known him not as a weakling, but as a power among you? Yes, but he was crucified through weakness, and still he lives now through the power of God. So then, we are weak, as he was, but we shall live with him, through the power of God, for your benefit.
Examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you acknowledge that Jesus Christ is really in you? If not, you have failed the test, but we, as I hope you will come to see, have not failed it. We pray to God that you will do nothing wrong: not that we want to appear as the ones who have been successful – we would rather that you did well even though we failed. We have no power to resist the truth; only to further it. We are only too glad to be weak provided you are strong. What we ask in our prayers is for you to be made perfect. That is why I am writing this from a distance, so that when I am with you I shall not need to be strict, with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for destroying.
In the meantime, brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with the holy kiss. All the saints send you greetings. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."