Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Rejoice in the Lord always": the co-existence of good and evil and God's plan for salvation

“Rejoice."  Our Church calls to us with the voice of God in the holy Scriptures today, "Rejoice in the Lord always!"

But with the evil we see in the world, especially such senseless horror as we all witnessed in Connecticut last week, does it not seem somewhat scandalous, or at least insensitive, to call for rejoicing?  And yet, our Church with the love of God for all of us, nevertheless reminds us that we “always” have reason and need to rejoice. 

"God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD"

In the face of evil we mourn with those who mourn in loving compassion.  And in the coming days we will be amazed and awed at the goodness of those who fought against the  evil actions of a single young man at the elementary school, who bravely stood up against evil in order to defend the weak and the innocent: a principal who fought and died as he shot his way into the building, a young teacher who died defending her young students with her own body.

This is the kind of rejoicing about which God speaks in the Scriptures: the love of God manifest in the human person which can bring good out of every evil.
And we follow and love a God who is on the cross not for Himself, but completely for us, fighting evil and sin with us and in us so that we can have true joy, authentic “happiness", with His help.

Human priorities sometimes clash with God's.  Sometimes human beings put other things before salvation in order of importance, such as total comfort, no suffering or pain in this life.  And sometimes, when they don't get this, people turn against God, stop going to church, stop believing.  But the Lord will not change His priorities for us because He know in His holy wisdom what we need most of all, which is the kind of joy which can never be taken away, the joy of heaven itself.  Some people will always find this scandalous and will always reject this truth unless they first undergo a conversion to love of God and His will.

Which brings us to the one thing which can jeopardize God's heavenly promise for us: sin.  Because sin is incompatible with God's good and holy plan for our eternal happiness with Him, he insists that we go to Christ crucified and risen for forgiveness.

"Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear."

God's mercy in Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to fear no misfortunes in this world.

God says that true joy, real happiness, can never come from looking only at what's wrong with the world but rather comes in the first place by facing what's wrong with ourselves and asking His help to fix it and int hat way, beginning to fx what is wrong with the world.

"The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen ((((,,)))) 

No comments: