As we read last Sunday, God's ways are far above ours, but we are called to open wide our hearts and minds to receive His wisdom, His transcendence. Proverbs 9:10 states that: "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy one understanding." This Sunday's readings begins with Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 18: 25-28
Thus says the Lord: "You say, the Lord's way is not fair!" Hear now, House of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit inequity and dies, it is because of the inequity that he must die. But if he turns from the wickedness that he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.It is in this reading that we see that the House of Israel's perception of what is fair, is not God's! I am instantly brought back to last weeks post in which justice, God's justice, is compared with our human fairness. It is not that fairness in and of itself is always wrong, but when we are cut lose from transcendent justice (God's ways), fairness is only based on the most superficial concepts of justice, and it often can only address the material realities, which leaves us blind to the ultimate unseen realities, and adrift in moral relativism! Grave injustice will always be the result, because this kind of superficial justice is blind (and not in the impartial sense) and cannot address the sickness in human souls, it can only respond to the outward manifestations of the inequities that hold individual souls hostage. We become enslaved to the sin, because we cannot see it, and each one of us becomes weaker. And so, abortion becomes a difficult, but, compassionate solution to inequities in our social response to crises pregnancies.
It is much harder to struggle to provide justice for the innocent child and the mother, but that is real justice, and it is not always comfortable. True justice requires a deeper understanding of the the transcendence of God and of the ultimate eternal nature of each and every human being. We need to understand that to turn from virtue means death, eternal death. We must be obstacles to that a turn that means death!
In the Pope's German address he says " we must rediscover our capacity to perceive God, a capacity that exists within us." In order to do this, we must understand how much we need God's mercy! Collectively and individually. "Ezekiel points out that we need to turn from our inequity, and we will receive God's mercy. But alas, we need a bit of perspective and perception to do that! For this we need to allow the Spirit to give us a truer vision of the Lord, and a truer vision of who we are before the Almighty.
And from here the readings flow into Philippians for the encouragement and further guidance needed in the light of Christ!
Phill 2 1-11
Brothers and Sisters if there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind with the same love, united in heart thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory, rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves. each looking out not for his own interest, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, who, though was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance he humbled himself becoming obedient even to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father forever!I must admit that Paul always gives me cause to pause and self examine, "do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory" (even blogging!) Always "humbly regard others as more important that yourselves" As a frail and fallible human being, and as a mother, I know that this takes practice, and guidance and a vision that is strong in perceiving beauty and truth. And since I cannot uproot Paul from Sacred Scriptures, I have to read it in light of Ezekiel, to always be aware that God's justice is much higher than mine, and the mercy we bestow must always be guided with the keen awareness of the immortality of each and every soul. We must in every way be stumbling blocks to those who are turning or have turned from the path of virtue! And we must be humbly vigilant over our own souls as well.
How we need to be emptied of our selfishness and our vainglory to begin to truly move forward in authentic justice and lasting mercy! How we need to recover our sight , to recognize the holiness and authority of Christ Jesus, who showed us the way to the Wisdom of God! How we need to have our eyes opened to the glimpses of the almighty and transcendent Lord, to open our hearts and turn away from the superficial, grasping at justice, to turn away from our ideas of fairness that encourage complacency and discourage virtue. We need to open wide our hearts, minds and souls to God who is pouring his love and mercy out upon us. We need to have our spiritual vision restored, or we will be like the Pharisees in the gospel, complacent and comfortable in their understanding of the Scriptures and of God, unable to understand authentic justice, even when He is standing right in front of us!
May the Lord grant each of us the heart mind and humility to seek Him in truth, to show us his paths and to remember not the sins of our past!