As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who at the due time will be revealed
by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all,
the King of kings and the Lord of lords,
who alone is immortal,
whose home is in inaccessible light,
whom no man has seen and no man is able to see:
to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.
2nd Reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Again and again down the centuries the intended witness of the Church on earth is cancelled out and contradicted by the actions of some of her members. In our own age no less than in others, and maybe even to the greatest extent in our age.
What causes us – or some of us – to fall short, and how well do the rest of us deal with that?
There is a tendency for some – faced with scandal – to separate themselves off from the Church either as individuals or as a breakaway group. What does that suggest to others?
How does God in his glory respond to our sins and failures? The sins of the guilty, and the sins of the ‘righteous’?
Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris. Detail of painting by Vasily Perov, ‘The Monastery Refectory’. Russia Museum, St Petersburg.