Tripping over MyselfFr. Barnabas Powell
The news is grim as nations near and far discuss military action in response to the civil war raging in Syria. The US talks of “going it alone” as the British Parliament votes “no” on intervention at this time. Israelis gather gas masks for their families to prepare for retaliatory strikes in the event of any missile attack on Damascus. And Egypt and surrounding Arab countries debate the political fallout in the rest of the Arab world.
If one didn’t know better, one would think that the law of unintended consequences was in full force!
Why is it we humans as a species always seem to be either groping in the dark or running around thinking frenzied activity will solve all our problems?
It actually boils down to some very simple (but difficult) answers that are obvious and ignored.
In today’s Gospel Lesson our Lord is doing a familiar work. He is confronting the purposeful and chosen blindness of the religious leaders of His day. And He does it by saying some pretty harsh words. The Lesson comes to us from Matthew 22:23-33, and here the Lord confronts the weak theology of the Sadducees. The Sadducees denied the future and bodily resurrection, that’s why they were “sad, you see!” OK, don’t shoot the messenger. It was cute!
We won’t delve into the theological errors of this group of religious leaders, but I want to draw your attention to verse 29. Here Jesus says to these very educated and disciplined leaders “”You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.” Wow, pretty plain language. But the Lord discerned this was the only “medicine” these men could hear. They prided themselves on both their knowledge of scripture AND their transcendent view of God. So, the Lord confronts these men, not so much in their weakness, but in the dangers of their arrogance and pride. And the reason the “medicine” is so strong and potent for these men whom Jesus really does love, is because the “sickness” they have is so deadly!
It is also the reason St. Paul speaks as he does to those unruly, but sincere believers in Corinth in today’s Epistle Lesson. St. Paul tells them “For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand; I hope you will understand fully, as you have understood in part, that you can be proud of us as we can be of you, on the day of the Lord Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 1:13-14
Sometimes people can be educated and not very smart. What’s the difference? Pride! Sometimes people can lack an education and be very bright. What’s the difference? Humility!
Today, in a world where a vast amount of information is at your fingertips; in a world where a mere internet connection can have you reading the news from half a world away; in a world where literacy is the highest it has ever been in human history, and education is ubiquitous; the old weakness of Pride still blinds to the plain and life giving truth of wisdom.
Today, allow the wisdom of the Faith to build into your life a humility that allows you to say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” or “I misunderstood.” Learn the wisdom of quick repentance and even quicker forgiveness (even before you are asked), and let the wise salvation of the Faith give you the insight you need to see beyond the temptations of Pride and arrogance. Be free today. See clearly today. That’s how the Creator intended you to live.