The American church may be the woman in today's gospel: possessed, drained, and stooped for eighteen years. In the Catholic community, we have been drained of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, drained of almost a whole generation of young people, and drained of faith because we have compromised with our secularized and materialistic culture.
As is customary in situations of bondage, we have denied the problem and thereby prolonged it. Instead of admitting something's seriously wrong, we use euphemisms, such as "merger," "restructuring," and "transition" in place of "close-down," "salvaging," and "deterioration." There is something inside us that resents being set free (Lk 13:14), since we know that freedom implies giving up our sinful ways, and we clutch sin, "holding on for dear death."
We are in an adulterous relationship with the world. "Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person — in effect an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments" (Eph 5:5-6). We must admit we have a problem. The devil has entered through our disobedience, and we must repent of our sins. Jesus wants to release us from our shackles, if we only admit we need Him (Lk 13:16).