Church? What Church?

Thank you Vatican II for presenting this Gospel reading to us today?

Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

St. Matthew 18:15-20

So, how exactly is it that there is no authoritative Church? How can Jesus say for us to bring our disputes to the Church for the Church to settle if there is no Church who has the authority to settle such disputes? Is Jesus stupid or something? Wait, no right after he tells us to go to the Church he authorizes the disciples, who will later be known as the Apostles, the authority of binding and loosing. If he hadn’t done this then I could go to any church I like in order to have my actions, theology, doctrines ok’ed before God.

Don’t believe the Trinity? Alright take me to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they’ll tell me I’m orthodox.

Don’t believe in Baptismal regeneration? Alright take me to the Southern Baptists, they won’t make me be baptized.

Don’t believe in the dignity of the human person? Alright take me to the US Episcopal Church, they’ll probably even help me set up an appointment to murder a youngster in the womb.

Don’t believe in the uniqueness of  heterosexual marriage? Alright take me to the ELCA, they’ll ordain me and celebrate my “alternative lifestyle”.

What is the point of Jesus’ teaching if we can each set up a church that we like that makes rules that affirm the sinful choices we make? EXACTLY!!! That wasn’t the point. The point is that Jesus gave the Church, THE Church, ONE Church, a SINGLE Church, the authority to bind and loose, the authority to excommunicate,which implies an authority to exercise the right to decide membership qualifications, which the Catholic Church does, based on orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Sound the trumpets! Bah-bah-bah-bah! That Church is present here today! Where is she?! Well there she is! There’s the successor of St. Peter right now! Benedict XVI! Bah-bah-bah-bah! This isn’t rocket science people. Open your eyes! Open your ears and listen carefully to Jesus’ words:

If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

If you need to re-read it again.

“But…” BAH! Read it again.

I’m just doing my job and being obedient to the words of God through the Prophet Ezekiel and telling you all the truth, showing you the plain words of our God, Jesus Christ.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

-Psalm 95-

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