Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Lectionary: 344

Say not: "I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?"
for the Most High bides his time.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident,
adding sin upon sin.
Say not: "Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive."
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
put it not off from day to day.

Perhaps those who make the kind of remarks that the Author of Ecclesiasticus has cited are not refusing grace; perhaps they just don’t believe what their religion tells them.
It’s not, “Because God is good he’ll save me tomorrow,” but “If God is good he’ll save me tomorrow.” and “…if God is not good, I’ve not wasted anything on religion.” Perhaps that’s why so many people have shrugged off their Christian and Catholic faith.

At least part of the problem is our outlandish religion. We’re asking people to believe a human being, who lived and died a long time ago in a very distant part of the world. They should believe that he: 1) is the Son of God; 2) died for our salvation, 3) was raised on Easter Sunday, 4) established a community to keep his memory until the end of time; and 5) will come again to gather his disciples to himself.  That's a lot to ask. 

What they don't see is the astonishing beauty of our faith. For whatever reason, their hearts are not moved by the infant who lies in a manger because there was no room in the inn. They might see the pathos but miss the perfect beauty of it. They might recognize the Holy Family as disinherited refugees but not comprehend Blessed are the meek who will inherit the land, and how just and right and merciful that is. They are not hungry for his flesh or thirsty for his blood or fascinated by the wounds which glow like precious gems to the eyes of faith. 

I know of no way to open their eyes except to pray that my own eyes are open to such beauty, and that my face might shine with reflected glory. Perhaps they will turn and look in the same direction as I am looking, and be fascinated, astonished and delighted as I have been. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.