Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Thr,.ough these, he has bestowed on us
the precious and very great promises,
so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature,
after escaping from the corruption that is in the world...


Opening his Second Letter, Saint Peter reminds us of the God's "precious and very great promises."
Human life is built on the promises we make to one another. They are the arrangements we make to meet one another for lunch, for pleasure, business or prayer. They are assurances that our parents will see us off to school in the morning, pick us up after school, feed us an evening meal and review our homework. Promises drive a receiver downfield to catch the quarterback's pass. We could not survive without the assurance that promises will be kept.
And for that reasons promises can arouse unpleasant sensations and bitter memories; they're often broken. How many times has Lucy promised to hold the football for Charlie Brown? How many times has he believed her?
Many people say they believe in God. It's one of those idle expressions we hear often, along with "You're in our prayers." You know better than to ask, "When will you do that?" or "What prayers do you say?" 
If pressed, I suspect, many will admit they don't believe in God's promises. Why would anyone believe the promises of a god who might not exist? What are they, anyway? It's interesting that Saint Peter assumes you know what they are; there's no need to repeat them.
Twenty centuries later most people recall vague notions of a promised "heaven." It appears often in one-panel cartoons with haloed, winged men and women making one-line remarks. Apparently everybody goes there -- but some people might not. It's where you're supposed to go after you die and get passed Saint Peter's high bench.
What do we actually expect of God's promises?
In today's scripture Peter says we will "share in the divine nature after escaping from the corruption that is in the world." 
We look for evidence of that divine nature in our Church and the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. There are the children with their wide-eyed, First Communion innocence. There are teenagers with their willingness to get involved and help. There is a legion of capable adults who have studied and prepared for a life of service in every field from agriculture to zoology. There are seniors in their "third age" with their compassionate understanding of human ambition and failure. There are the elderly who patiently suffer innumerable chronic illnesses. All these share in the divine nature in some form; many shine with manifest grace.
Those who say they believe in God while quietly disavowing his promises have dismissed heaven a long time ago. It's just "pie in the sky" to them. If they want fantasies they go to the movies, not to church.
The faithful live in the Spirit and see God's promises sprout, blossom and bear fruit daily and all around us. Through them we come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world...

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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.