14th Sunday of the Year (C) 2019

Besides the twelve apostles, who spent most of their time in the company of Jesus of Nazareth, listening to his teaching, watching his example and absorbing his instruction, there were also many other fairly constant followers, and these Jesus sent out before him to prepare the towns and villages on his itinerary, for his arrival. These were the seventy two.
This number is not necessarily an accurate count but indicates a large group. (A bit like the Diocesan mass count).
They were not to take supplies or funds with them. It was the duty and privilege of those whom they visited and prepared for the coming of Jesus, to feed and look after them.
This was the practise of Jesus himself. We see from the Gospels that Jesus and his group of followers were generally well looked after and given shelter.
This was so to the extent that they could regularly give alms to the poor and the needy.
This way of doing things was great in 30 ad. Galilee was a small province and easily negotiated on foot. Cutting a walking staff from the bushes on the side of the road was all you really needed to get going. Pilgrimages to Jerusalem and other holy places were common and helping pilgrims on their way was accepted procedure.
Things are different today. The whole world is a big place. Things need to be organised, money needs to be gathered, transportation needs to be paid for, those sent need to be chosen and trained etc.
This is where the organisation called the Roman Catholic Church comes into its own. It recruits, trains and sends people to all parts of the world to prepare for the coming of Jesus of Nazareth. This is what I call the political church. It organises, administers, and financially sustains this work. Those who are sent and the work they do is what I call the prophetic church.
One needs the other, to be effective, to have meaning.
But there must be a delicate balance maintained.
There are always, in any organisation, those who use the organisation to forward personal ambition, personal power and personal control.
This was, and still is a big problem in our church. It has been called ‘clericalism’ by Pope Francis who is determined to curtail and hopefully eliminate it.
Clericalism is an attitude of mind. It is a presumption of entitlement. It is a desire for self promotion. It is a controlling frame of mind. It is a desire for money, influence and acclaim.
Clericalism is not only a fault found among the clergy but even more so among the laity who deliberately kowtow and insist on full and proper titles to impress and curry favour with the clergy. In my own mind I call this the ‘yes, very reverend father’ syndrome.
What human being, subjected to this treatment on a permanent basis, would not succumb to the evil of clericalism? So blame for clericalism needs to be shared.