I May Not Always Enjoy Your Company But... "I will be with you until the end of time."

After his resurrection, Jesus was present to those who loved him. He made it clear to them that he would never desert them. In one way or another, he would always be at their disposal... at our disposal.

During the six weeks following his resurrection, his presence was altered but still perceptible to some of the senses. This way he gradually prepared them for the sensual blackout that followed his ascension.

They were left with a promise they would better understand once they had received the Holy Spirit.

Today there are those among us who are clinging to that promise more than ever.

After a long history of seriously mishandled cases of sexual abuse, our past, both proximate and remote, has finally been reeled in and presented to the world within the context of distorted statistics and jumbled time frames. The result is that, as church, we are experiencing corporate shame. Priests are being insulted by strangers on the streets of our cities. Our intellects are being insulted if not assaulted by recently hatched experts holding forth on celibacy, in particular, and, in general, all things clerical. The most spiteful and uninformed rhetoric comes from a vocal minority among those men and women, who, for whatever reason, have long since abandoned the church. It is as though they had at long last found the justification that, until now, had eluded them. "Now," they say, "everyone can see how the church is dominated by a writhing nest of male chauvinist perverts!"

Sadly, all of this vilification is currently shaking the faith of some loyal Catholics who are often ignorant of the true facts.

Do not let the crimes of some priests and bishops and the poor judgment of others stop you from being anything but loyal and supportive of the church of which you are an integral part. When Judas gave in to his lust for money, Jesus didn't close up shop! That was one out of twelve. We are talking about possibly one out of a hundred. Jesus, as he promised, is still very much with us. He is hurting with us but he is also working through us and when all is said and done, the changes in attitude and the re-assessment of priorities forced upon us by this purgatory will have far-reaching, positive effects.

I believe that we are about to embark on a true reformation. Not one that will result in fracture but in well founded unity and the will to grow in the authentic image of our divine founder.

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