Thursday, October 19, 2006

28th Thursday in Ordinary Time (II)
Salvation in Christ

Readings: Ephesians 1:1-10; Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6; Luke 11:47-54

There is a certain understanding of and approach to the faith that sees it primarily as providing answers to life’s questions. There is truth in this approach, of course. Our faith would be highly suspect if it didn’t give us guidance on how to live our lives in the here and now. But there is danger when this view is taken to the extreme.

Why, for example, is Jesus so critical of the lawyers in the gospel today? You… have taken away the key of knowledge! he says, You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to. What is it about the lawyers that attracts Jesus’ strong rebuke? Is it not their presumption in presenting themselves as masters and interpreters of a very detailed and unchanging code of conduct that apparently contains all the answers to life’s questions? They are the professionals, the experts. People can only be saved by coming to them for help. But the kind of knowledge that they offer is not the kind that Jesus values. On the contrary, Jesus says they have taken away the key of knowledge. Why?

Consider what is written in the first reading from the letter to the Ephesians. The Lord has shown his salvation not in any unchanging legal code, nor in any purely human formulation of model answers. No, God has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ…. He chose us in Christ…. He has let us know the mystery of his purpose… in Christ… For us who are Christian, the salvation that we seek, the answers to life’s questions for which we crave, are found only in Christ. And Christ is a person not a code. Christ is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved. What we need is not so much for an expert to tell us the way it is but to be led into an ever deepening relationship and communication with Christ – who meets us both within our hearts and in our interactions with others. And we help one another less by providing answers than by somehow helping to mediate such an intimate dialogue with Christ.

How is the Lord making known his salvation to us and in us today?

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