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October 11, 2018 - Don't You Get It?

Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

It’s not often that we see the humanity of the biblical writers, but we certainly see it today.  Paul calls the Galatians “stupid,” and Jesus calls his audience “wicked.”  Do you ever get tired of the world’s resistance to our best efforts to do good?  St. Paul certainly did.  Are you ever amazed at the inability of your fellow men and women do to good and avoid evil?  Jesus was amazed and frustrated as well.  But perhaps for you the opposite is true.  Are you even amazed at your own wickedness?  Or brought low because of your inability to fully understand the gospel?

What shall we do with readings like this, which point out our lack of understanding and our sinfulness?  First, I think patience is in order.  Some of us need to be built up in Christ… and some of us need divine help shrinking the size of our ego.  For the former and the latter, today’s readings are a gift.  How?  For those of us who need to be built up in Christ, Paul warn us against the fallacy that ‘works of the law,’ will lead us to the Spirit.  We don’t need to be better to get God.   For the person with a big ego, the message is the same; your goodness or greatness will not be enough to get us out of this mess.  Our will and effort to conform to God’s goodness are not enough to set this world right.  We will not solve our personal and world-wide problems by being better or more worthy. It is ‘faith in what we heard’ that will deliver us from evil.  Whether we are worthy or not is of no consequence; we are to rely on God, not ourselves.

The gospel message dovetails with Paul’s exhortation to faith; persistence in prayer will result in the gift of the Spirit.  Our goodness will not help this broken world, and our wickedness will not be a barrier IF we tenaciously seek God in prayer.  Then, our Heavenly Father will send us the Spirit.  The Spirit’s goodness will help… The Spirit’s holiness will purify and drive out our evil thoughts and actions.  Then, God will work in us to redeem the world.

Like Zechariah in the Canticle, let’s point to God.  God will save; God will set us free.  It’s not our goodness or wickedness that matters; what matters most is that we say yes in persistent prayer, and allow God to be God.  May the prayer of Zechariah’s son be our prayer: “I must decrease, so that Jesus may increase.” Amen!

-Chris Nieport