17th Sunday after Pentecost 5.10.14 Full unity
There is a solution to all the world’s troubles and it is not just tolerating each other’s errors!
We are called to peace (epistle). Peace is not just the absence of killing but a complete unity between people, not just co-existence but faith, faith in Christ, belonging to the Body of Christ.
The human race is meant to live in joyful unity, every person on the face of the earth acknowledging their Creator and Saviour. (And Mary as Mother, also.)
We might as well get all of it right if we are going to get any of it right.
The usual idea is to reduce religious belief to its lowest common denominator where it becomes no more than a noble sentiment (eg that we should all live in peace).
But in fact religion makes sense only if it is followed through to its logical conclusions. If we believe in a God who made us, who saves us, who makes certain demands of us – how can we then proceed as though He does not feature in our decision-making?
It has to be true religion, of course. False religions muddy the waters. But there is truth that needs to be discovered and believed in. How else can we understand the world?
The true religion is that which teaches that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah and is Himself God. (epistle and gospel)
Religion is often reduced to the private domain. You can believe whatever you want but don’t try to get me to believe it… But there is only one truth in these matters. Many beliefs but only one truth.
St Paul is asserting in today’s epistle the oneness of all these crucial points. One Lord, one faith, one baptism… and we would add today, one Church (Catholic).
This is a call to everyone to find out who they are, what they are, where they came from and where they are going. It is all explained through this oneness of faith.
To see this is to be on the way to the solution. It is the only hope for the world.
People suppress this truth because they think it will be divisive. And they also think it is too hard to live by.
In recent centuries the false idea has arisen that people can be governed without reference to God (separation of Church and State). Many in the Church hold this false idea.
Yet God is Lord of all His creation. Jesus Christ is King of kings, Lord of lords.
He must be acknowledged if we have any hope of having the right laws, and the right way of conducting ourselves.
We cannot reduce Jesus to just one among many solutions. We cannot restrict Him to the realm of private belief. He must be at the centre of all our decisions, personal and communal.
If the King is not obeyed we have a very unruly kingdom - and that is what we do have.
We should not wish him other than He is. If we align ourselves with Him we will see every blessing, in this life and the next.
It needs a lot more confidence from those who do believe. We may not be that strong in belief but we have to grow into the fulness of faith.
St Paul is praying this for his people because he knows that many of them will be wobbly in faith. They will need encouragement to hold on to the life-line they have been thrown.
We ask the Lord to sustain our faith when everyone is telling us we are crazy.
The things we believe do not get any less true. We can ask for the easiest possible ride but we cannot expect an armchair ride all the way. More like a roller-coaster ride, but eventually at rest.
May the Lord deliver and sustain us, until all is complete.