Fr. Paul D. Scalia: The Gospel, Untamed

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*Image: The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych by Hieronymous Bosch, 1490-1500 [Museo Del Prado, Madrid]

By Fr. Paul D. Scalia, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 26, 2021

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Pastor of Saint James in Falls Church. He is the author of That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion and the editor of Sermons in Times of Crisis: Twelve Homilies to Stir Your Soul.


Fr. Paul D. ScaliaThere is always the temptation to domesticate the Gospel — to smooth out the rough edges, sanitize the language, and naturalize the supernatural. In a word, to make it comfortable. In this way, the Beatitudes become simply gentle sayings about the poor, meek, and sorrowful. The twofold command of love becomes a mere exhortation to kindness. Even the death of Christ becomes just a good example.

Saint Mark tells us that those who followed Christ were amazed and afraid. (Mk 10:32). Well, we want to be comfortable, not afraid. Not comfortable as God desires to make us (with the peace beyond all understanding), but comfortable on our own terms, according to our earthbound understanding. We want the Gospel to make our lives better, not to upend them. So, we try to tame His words and make them fit for polite company. …

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