Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Study in Contrasts

Yesterday, I listened to a speaker quoting Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and referencing what is referred to as "The Great Awakening."

This morning a wake up to our reading from the first letter to the Hebrews in which the the God of whom Moses said,"I am terrified and trembling" is contrasted with

...the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant..

You could slip into your child's room and scream into his/her ear at the top of your lungs, and it is true that it would awaken them. But would it be the truly Christian approach?

Yesterday the reading spoke to us of a parent's need to discipline. Today we are reminded of what is new about the new covenant. That with the new covenant God alters the relationship between God and human being.

One of the unforgettable days of my life was standing in St. Peter's Square in 2000 on the Day of Forgiveness when the Pope and others including the then Cardinal-Prefect apologized for among other things, the errors made by individuals within the Church in a misguided attempt to defend the faith.

In every religion and every generation, there have been and always will be misguided individuals, and groups. If one wants to attack the faith, you can always find examples to point to. It is for this reason that I thank God for the fact that when he established the Church, he put in place a structure to guard the deposit of faith and to right the ship.

Today's reading reminds us that God does not want us to fear him, he wants us to love him, to be a part of his very body. The proverb may be right that "Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom", but it certainly is not the end.