In a sermon on Easter Day in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton reflected on the loving encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene that first Easter morning and asked ‘how do we, as the Church so often get to a place where so much Christianity seems to be different from that loving, intimate encounter, between one of his followers and Jesus himself?’
Not just today, but every day we must scrutinise our inherited interpretations of scripture and the things of the faith handed down to us. Why must we do this? Because we know, and we must confess, that far too often in the past, Christian faith and love were used to justify much that was far-removed from the love of God. Many of the things we now abhor were frequently (and sometimes still are) justified by Christians on the basis of particular readings of Scripture: the unfettered exploitation of the earth and its resources; white supremacism; anti-semitism; the ownership and subservience of women, colonialism, homophobia, racism, Islamophobia, attitudes to victims of famine, debtors and the poor.
And so much of this occluded the selfless good that was being done by other Christians, and the genuine concern and love being shown, in relation often to the very same people and situations.
It is right that we keep asking ourselves ‘what else, at the heart of the message and life of Jesus Christ’ has been distorted by Christians?
Hearing that Easter gospel, afresh just now, and thinking about Mary Magdalene throughout the past week, I ask myself, how do we so often get to a place where so much Christianity seems to be different from that loving, intimate encounter, between one of his followers and Jesus himself?
The full text of Bishop Colton’s sermon is at: