Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reflections for the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – Messy Human Beings

Let's face it; we human beings are really messy. We sin frequently. We wallow in the mud of pride and selfishness. We fail to act and speak with love. We argue and fuss and worry and fret. We put our trust in the things of this world and look to them for satisfaction. We refuse to trust and obey the God Who loves us beyond all telling.

For all our messiness, however, God never gives up on us. As St. Paul reminds us in today's first reading, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. By His Blood, we have access to forgiveness of our sins. We are freed, redeemed, from slavery to sin and death. We are justified by grace through our living faith that says yes to God and His plan for our lives. 

God listens to us when we cry out from the depths of our humanity. He hears us, and He responds with forgiveness and love. In return, we must pray with the Psalmist, even in this midst of our messiness, “I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word. My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.”

Friday – God Knows

God knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus assures us in today's Gospel that God notices every sparrow that falls from the sky, and we are worth much more than a sparrow. God has even counted every single hair on our heads. 

Think about that for a moment. Think about how well God knows you. Think about how much He values you. Think about how much He loves you. He knows all your sins, all your faults, all your mistakes, all your weakness, and He loves you beyond measure anyway.

“Do not be afraid,” Jesus says. We are safe in the loving arms of our omniscient God.

Saturday – The Sin Against the Holy Spirit

In today's Gospel, Jesus utters some very mysterious words: “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

These words have terrified countless scrupulous people over the centuries because they seem to say that there is some kind of sin that God simply will not forgive. What is this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Can we commit this sin without realizing it? Will we get to the end of our lives and be shut out of Heaven because we have at some point offended God by an unforgivable sin?

Saints and scholars are quick to reassure us that this sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit isn't so mysterious at all, and we cannot commit it without being aware of it. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is just this: rejecting the forgiveness of God until the very end. Those who commit this sin are not forgiven because they don't want to be forgiven. They deliberately turn their backs on God's outstretched hand. They refuse God's love. They will not repent of their sin. They choose against God even to the very end of their lives. God wants to forgive them, but they answer with a firm “No!” And God, respecting their free will, lets them have their way.

We can be certain, then, that we cannot commit the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit without knowing that we are doing it. If we remain open to God's forgiving love, we can trust Him to provide whatever we need to get us home to Him.

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