Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good Ground for Hope

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you.  And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.  Wisdom 12:18-19

The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.  Romans:8:26

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Matthew 13:43

Fear of the Lord is one of the gifts of the Spirit.  The parables about the kingdom reveal that the good will be rewarded and the bad will be punished.  We live in the world of instant gratification.  It is logical that rewards encourage and punishment discourages one from doing what they are doing.  Sometimes it seems that children can only be guided by fear of punishment.  How sad the lot of children who never grow up to discover the joy of doing something because it is right to do!  We learn to be responsible for our own decisions by the ways we learn from the negatives of a bad decision.  It is certain a parent would have shown us why something was a bad decision from the get-go.  But lessons learned by having to live with a bad personal decision gives a value and a appreciation for the advice of elders.  Finally, it all makes sense following the advice of God in the example of Christ.  Our piety is the doing of the right things because it puts us in sync with Christ.

We study the mysteries of our faith with the spiritual guidance of Christ and his ministers.  Many a good teacher touches our lives by sermons and the best sermon of all is a holy life.  We learn from the example of others what God is asking of us in our efforts to form and nurture small Christian communities.  Our study deepens our understanding of the teachings of the Church and we come to appreciate our growing closeness to the mystical body of Christ, which is the church.

Our work is to eradicate our sin.  We glorify the name of God by our good lives, as Christians, when we live up to what it means to be Christian by our trying to be just like Christ in all we do and say.  We glorify the name of God by our good actions.  God is good and forgiving when we are doing our best to live up to what Christ wants of us.  The Spirit comes to our weakness and makes up the difference between what we do and what we should have done when we invite the Spirit to do his thing in our lives.  When the harvest comes, the weeds of our imperfections will be left behind.  What we do is the best we can do when we give the Spirit reign in our hearts.  The mustard like seed of our efforts will grow up to be great support for everyone when it reaches its maturity.  The ordinary of our life will become the extraordinary when we give the spirit control of our hearts.  Our job is to spread the good news of the Kingdom.

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