A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The pebble

In today’s first reading, St. Paul offers profound insights about how God chooses to communicate with humanity.

For some, these insights are obscured somewhat by some of the other things St. Paul says. To begin with, he repeats twice the fact that special knowledge concerning God was hidden from all the people in the ages before Christ.

“(My) insight into the mystery of Christ… was not made known to human beings in other generations…. The mystery hidden from ages past.”

This may strike some people as strange. Why should God have been so unfair to those people who lived before the time of Christ or who otherwise – through no fault of their own - never had a real opportunity to hear or see the revelation that comes through him?

The bottom-line is that God is present to all people in one way or another and that God wants all people to be saved. We are therefore in no position to denounce God or to make assumptions about the limits of his salvific activity.

Yet God has chosen to communicate and to relate to us not only in general, mystical ways or through the beauty of his creation.

In fact, God has chosen to communicate and to relate to us on our very own level as creatures of flesh and blood living in four dimensions of space and time.

The infinite unknowable God speaks to us on a human level through revelation; he is present and working among us in salvation history; and, most wonderfully and importantly, he has become one of us in the person of his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – the most perfect revelation of God.

This real, concrete, and historical revelation of God in Jesus Christ continues through those who experienced him and whom he sent forth for that purpose: the Apostles, upon whom the Church was founded, in which Gospel was preached, the New Testament was written and the Sacraments celebrated.

The feeling of true “connectedness” that comes to us in this way is more awesome than can be expressed. The word we hear was written and spoken by those who heard and saw God in the flesh. When he was ordained, the priest who leads our prayer received the laying on of hands stretching back in an unbroken chain to those who received their mandate from Christ himself. We break bread as he did. We baptize with water as he was baptized with water. We anoint as he was anointed.

The image comes to mind, as imperfect as it may be, of a pebble hanging above a great lake of clear water. All parts of the lake, above and even below, can somehow see that pebble. Unexpectedly, the pebble decides to enter the lake, sending out ripples that pulse outward from molecule to molecule, passing on in a special way the energy from that pebble.

How God relates to those who could not know Christ... that belongs to God. What belongs to us, our joyful task, is to pass on the special knowledge of God that we have received from Christ's coming among us, to be one of the ripples of salvation in the universe.

The “connectedness” with the physical reality of Christ that we have through the Apostles and the Church continues through each of us in one way or another. We are part of that chain of God’s action in human history. As we have received this special experience of God in Christ, so we enthusiastically pass it on to others.

…so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the Church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.