Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The problem with the cycle

In the Catholic Church we celebration the story in a liturgical cycle. Scattered around that cycle are the events of the life of Jesus. It helps to organize and understand the history of our faith. The problem is that we forget that God is not bound by our cyclical or even linear notions of time and space. The life of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) was is and will be beyond our concept of history, past, present or future.

We conclude the Easter Season with the celebration of Pentecost and speak of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. In reality Genesis describes the Holy Spirit as being present at the creation of the universe.

Today's reading from Isaiah eludes to the presence of that same Holy Spirit
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

The one who upholds our rights, our advocate, the one who will appear together with us.

This is the image the gospel gives us for the Holy Spirit, the promised advocate. Even in our darkest hours we are never alone.

All too often we look to our feelings for truth. The fact is, how we feel at any given moment can be the result of literally hundreds of factors, many of which are beyond our control. We all like those moments when we feel the nearness of God, but we should not be so foolish as to believe that if we don't feel it, God is not there, God has abandoned us.

Like Isaiah we should set our face like flint and regardless of how we feel, we should know that the Lord God is our help.