Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Mystery of His Will

October 14, 2010
Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

In [Jesus], we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:7-10

Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Luke 11:47-48

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

God has made known to us his secret. And some may not like what we hear in it.

Our two readings today give us a stark contrast between the true prophet promised and revealed in that mystery and the false prophet. In Christ, the true prophet, we are blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,” we are holy and without blemish before God. That certainly is a very wonderful place to be and state in which to live.

However, when Christ confronts us with the truth, he challenges us to abandon our ways and adopt his. In the reproach to the Pharisees, Christ calls out the false prophets and enumerates charges against them.

“Woe to you!”

If we do not reject those who killed the prophets, then we share in the sins of these murderers. Recall the story of Lazarus who ignored the poor at his gate only to feel that same rejection when his cries from the pain of Hell were ignored. Lazarus had his chance to choose. The Pharisees have their chance to choose. We have our chance to choose to change, too.

Jesus continues his lecture by calling out the Pharisees for being learned but not sharing that knowledge with others and for not only refusing his invitation to enter but also for stopping others who tried to follow Jesus.

What did the Pharisees do after hearing these very tough accusations from Jesus? Did they examine their lives and actions and change? No. The mystery revealed in this rebuke set the Pharisees on the course of hostility that led Jesus on the path which was a mystery to us but not to him. This led Jesus on the path to Jerusalem and then to trial, then to Calvary.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall get you rejected, arrested, flogged, crowned with thorns, burdened by your cross, nailed to it and left hanging to die alone. I beg your pardon. God never promised us a rose garden.

If you were among the Pharisees, what would you have done? Would this encounter with Christ have led to your conversion, your change? Or would you have dug in your heels and continued pursuing your old habits? If the Pharisees were with us today, how could they not change?

So, imagine Jesus is rebuking you. What would his charges be against you today? What will you do about it? Cruise up the River of Denial or explore the New Path of Change.

Will you take the path of the crowd following the false prophets and the Pharisees? Or the path less travelled, the path of the True Prophet that will reveal the mystery of love? Even if you know the path to truth will lead to suffering?