8th Sunday after Pentecost 3.8.14 Restoring order
In the world at the moment there is possibly even more bad news than usual with major trouble spots in Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine.
And we have the centenary of the First World War to remind us that human nature does not change easily.
How to stop the killing? Everyone asks. Not that killing is the only sin, though it tends to be the most spectacular.
But how stop sin in all of its forms? We have to go extra and ask that question, not expecting merely political solutions to hold much water.
It has to be a root healing at the soul level. There has to be genuine repentance and a turning to the Lord. It is His world, so we have to go to Him to learn how to run it.
How to do this? The readings today call for a clear grasp of the relationship of the flesh and spirit (epistle), material world and spiritual world (Gospel).
The essence of the matter is that we need to live in the material world with a totally spiritual understanding.
If the flesh is operating outside of the spirit’s control then our life is out of control.
If we put money (or any material thing) above the life of heaven, then we are in danger of losing our soul.
So we seek the right balance. The spiritual perspective will help us both advance our own salvation and also go some way to healing the world of its troubles.
In the face of so much bad news one could lose hope. But we do not do that. We pray more not less. We pray like we really mean it.
If things get worse we pray better. If less people turn up to pray we pray longer. If others are dispirited we re-affirm our hope.
The Church often faces externally bleak situations. Think of Good Friday itself. How did the apostles and disciples feel on Good Friday evening? How much tempted to despair they would have been at that time. So much they did not understand, did not know. A solution looking so improbable.
From Good Friday to Easter Sunday, just 36 hours from death to life. This is our eternal consolation. We feel like it’s Good Friday but we know there is an Easter Sunday on its way.
Any setback can be absorbed and transcended; and we will see better days. When we suffer defeat we think victory. When we have a victory we build on that and expect another victory.
We don’t go by how things look but by how they are. And how they are we work out from faith.
There are certain good ‘things’ which are always in place and available to us to call upon. Such as that the whole world is made by God, and ruled by Him.
He permits evil to happen but it is always under His control. We do not always know why things happen but just to know that it He is in control is a comforting thing.
We must do our bit to set things right. We can at least be on the right side. The majority of people were mocking Our Lord on the cross. Only a few were prepared to stand with Him. We want the numbers to shift so that everyone is under the cross paying homage and no one is mocking Him. Every knee shall bow…
We need to be as wise in doing good as some people are in doing evil (Gospel). The only way to reclaim the world is through the spiritual channel, conformity to Christ, acknowledging His sovereignty.
All divisions between people cease once they are in union with Him.