Sunday, March 26, 2006

2 Chr 36:15-16

"Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets, until the anger of the Lord against his people was so inflamed that there was no remedy." (2 Chr 36:15-16)

Today our idea of compassion is just not being all nit-picky about following this or that "rule". It's about looking the other way. Loving the sinner, loving the sin. When in fact, God's compassion lies in His forgiveness and lies in His desiring that all may be with Him so much that he'll raise up men to warn us of our wrongs and to guide us on the path of God.

This is what we see in this reading. We see that God sent numerous prophets to warn people, but of the people's preferring, all in all, to disregard them because tomorrow really never comes. Then we see the result of that dismissing of the prophets where God, the one who could never damn anyone and the one who is really good at looking the other way, gets so angry that there is no remedy.

We really like our sins, nowadays. They’re fun. They let us do all numbers of fun things. They bail us out of tough situations. They allow us to live, so we think. And we don’t need to worry because God’s compassionate and understands everything.

Guess again.

Our Protestant friends have one thing very right though execute in a very misguided way. This is that the most hateful thing you can do is to remain silent. The motives for remaining silent are usually pretty much the same. We fear rejection. We fear the labels the children of society might bestow on us. But Christians are called to rise above fears. Who would let their friend drive his car without alerting him to the fact that his tires are flat? No, there comes a time when you have to ignore the knot in your stomach, bite your tongue, and speak. But we should stop biting our tongue before we speak other wise we will make series of ridiculous noises.

In the same way, God loves us too much to leave us in the depth’s of sin. The Gospel of John today tells us that He “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” When He does this, He fulfills all the prophecies and there isn’t need of any more prophets to tell of the coming of the son of God. But there is need of, and therefore he establishes, a role of one who will keep the believers on the right track and warn when something is wrong. I will give you a hint: Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam.

God has compassion on us and does not want us to be caught up in the promises of this world that lead into sorrow and pain. So He sends forth a man who will keep the wheels running by telling us what is wrong and when we have gone wrong. This man was given an affection title which translates into English, “Pope”.

Today our idea of the Pope is a nice old fellow a million miles away who’s just out of touch with the “real” world and who’s really a big old wet blanket on a lot of things. The word he speaks is subject to our approval, and more often then not, we scoff at it. No parallel can be drawn between this and the reading from the Old Testament, I see.

No, this is a direct parallel. In these days, we add infidelity to infidelity and practice all abominations and pollute God’s temple. Early and often did God send messengers to us because He had compassion on us. But we mocked him, the messenger of God, despised God's warnings he proclaimed, and scoffed at them until the anger of the Lord against us was so inflamed that there was no remedy.

Scary, but true. The scare and cries of injustice something elicites does not change it's reality. It sure didn't for the holocaust.

This life is our chance - let's not forget that or miss it. In a world torn by war and poverty, it is not only nice but necessary to have one light that is both very much visible on this earth and that is a reliable guide to right and wrong. While we have inane bickering in Washington, we have God's highest messenger in Rome. We can hardly rely on our government to spend our money or our votes on anything but the restorations of some famous person's house. And not only that, but someone will come up and disagree with how the house in question should be restored.

But we have on this earth the head of the Body of Christ who speaks with the authority of God. Dismiss him, dismiss God. As Christ says in Luke 10, "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me." He is not there for decoration, but to guide. His guidance is not subject to our approval, but binding on us to either accept and be children of the light, or to reject and to cast ourselves off, preferring darkness to light, because our works are evil and in them and through them, we hate the light.

God will not wait forever. Listen to His messenger. The messenger might not round people up and give them eternal justice, but just who do we think there is to hold back the justice of God? No one will. We hear this so plainly in the Old and New Testament's today. God's compassion is in always being willing to take us back and is also in telling us His will through His servant while in this world and not leaving us sheep with out a shepherd and springing everything on us without warning when we die.

Now is the day of salvation, and this Lent, let's be ever more aware and obedient to God's will spoken through the successor of Peter, live in the truth and come to the light so that our works may be clearly seen as done in God.