Saturday, November 7, 2015

What's the goal

Today we complete our reading of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans.  And in Chapter 16 verse 26 he gives us the goal "hypakoe pistos", the obedience of faith. Like it's Latin counter part the root of the word for obedience is the idea of hearing. In greek it is the same root that give is the word acoustic. But the prefix on the word in Greek is "hypo" as in hypodermic (something that goes under the skin). In this case hypakoe means to "hear under."

Being a Christians is not reading the Bible and blinding doing what you think it says. Contrary to the caricature of Catholic's, it's not blinding doing everything the Pope says. The goal is that we all be able to "hear under", come to an ever deeper understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In faith, we read the Bible, we use the Catechism to help us understand it, we pray, so that we are drawn into a deep personal relationship with the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

And in the context of that relationship we act, we speak, we do, we live. It is always, as St. Anselm says, "fides quarens intellectum", faith seeking understanding. Jesus never asked for blind obedience, as a matter of fact it was his mission to make the blind see.  He wants us to see and to hear at the deepest possible level. When we look at another person we should see beyond the surface, and try to see as God sees. And when we listen, we listen in faith.

We have spent several weeks reading St. Paul's Letter to the Romans. It is the first of the Pauline Letters in the Bible because it is the longest. Today let us practice listening, not only to the Word of God but to each other, in faith, and perhaps all of our relationships can move to a deeper level.