Tuesday, 13 October 2015

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45
Whoever the author of Hebrews may be it is an absolutely sublime and inspired work. Today’s passage begins: The word of God is something alive and active ...
Here the word is called ‘something’: something alive and active; elsewhere it is designated as ‘someone’, a person, Jesus Christ.
John the Evangelist begins his gospel (1:1) with the words: In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
The Word was with God from the beginning. As the Creed puts it he is: eternally begotten of the Father; and therefore the Word of God is God, alive and active. We call the Word the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Now before our heads start spinning let’s pause here and simply focus on the wonderful fact that it was through the Word that the Father created all things, including us. His Word is irresistibly powerful and it is sufficient for it to be spoken for it to be accomplished. So God says: ‘Let there be’ and we can be certain that it is so.
The realisation that I was put together by the Word of God has always been an immense source of consolation to me. I am made by God! This tells me a number of things about myself.
Firstly, it tells me I am well made and that my existence matters. God did not have to speak the word which made me but he did and, as many of you will remember the little bumper sticker from years ago, ‘God does not make junk.’ Isn’t this a wonderful realisation! No matter what the circumstances of our lives may be there is no such thing as human ‘junk’. Every person is formed by a deliberate choice of God.
The second thing this tells me is that I belong to God and not to myself – I am his. I am made by him and therefore I belong to him. This is why we are called to be good. We must be good because God is good and we belong to him.
Thirdly, it tells me I have a future, an eternal destiny. Sometimes I wonder how atheists cope with the thought that they are just random assemblies of molecules with no ultimate future or ultimate meaning. Jesus tells us (John 14:3) who are privileged to be his disciples that he has gone to the Father to prepare a place for us: so that where I am you may be too.
Fourthly, it tells me that I am known by him. He understands me because he put me together in my mother’s womb. This is seriously important to me because most of the time I am nothing more than a muddle to myself; most of the time I even feel ‘locked out’ from myself. No doubt this is simply the consequences of Original Sin which has confused and fractured our inner selves and distorted our vision but what a comfort to know that God still has the key. God is not locked out from us because he made us. His Word can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; and that it can: judge the secret emotions and thoughts.
What’s more God remembers how we should be and could be once again. He has before him the divine template, the first-born Son, and he is ceaselessly working through his grace to heal and restore his image within us. God’s vision is not blurred: No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
Finally, God’s Word makes it clear to me that I have immense dignity as a child of God and that I will be called to account for my personal response to this gift he has bestowed on me. The Word through which we were called into being and which has inscribed itself on our DNA, the Word which never ceases to work in us for our sanctification, that Word requires we make a final account to him of our lives. It is the Word by which we will be judged.
In the meantime let us ask the Lord to hear our words as they are expressed in the Entrance Antiphon of next week’s Mass:
To you I call; for you will surely heed me, O God;
turn your ear to me; hear my words.
Guard me as the apple of your eye;
in the shadow of your wings protect me.

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