25th Sunday after Pentecost (Readings 6th Sunday after Epiphany) 15.11.15 One Saviour
Our Lord talks in parables because He did not want to hit people with too much too soon; so He broke it to them in bits, hoping they would take it in.
One thing people have trouble taking in is the uniqueness of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Church He has founded.
Here is Jesus healing left and right, but people (and even His disciples) do not grasp the significance of His actions.
Who has the power to give life where it has been extinguished? Who has the authority to forgive sins?
Our Lord did these things, repeatedly. He was making the point that Salvation is found in Him, and the further point that it is not found anywhere else!
The Israelites were set free from Egypt but they soon forgot the source of their blessings and turned to false gods. The Jews of Our Lord’s time missed the true God among them because they were blinded by their own limited expectations.
The people of our time miss the true God because they pursue the false gods of pleasure, wealth, living in the flesh and not the spirit.
In every age and culture it seems the temptation to worship the wrong gods is prevalent. There is one real God and all the others are false. But the false ones will have enough appealing qualities to lead people astray.
Freedom of thought (misused), excessive individualism, a thousand counterfeits – and we have people confused and looking in the wrong places for salvation.
So we come back to asserting that there is one God, one Saviour, one tree to which all birds must come… today’s Gospel.
In the secular view the Church is just another organisation, another player on a crowded field. It has no particular importance.
But as Jesus puts to us, the Kingdom of God (Church) is meant to cover the whole world.
Just as He is King of all, His Church is meant to cover every part of the world. Go and baptise all nations (Mt 28,19).
There is only one God, one Saviour, one Church – and all must enter that Church to be saved.
As Our Lord said, in another tree image – He is the tree and we are the branches. Joined to Him we live and bear fruit; cut off from Him we can do nothing (Jn 15,5).
Even Catholics do not understand this, as with a false ecumenism they give too much respect to false religions.
It may seem arrogant to claim to be the only true religion out of all the others. We do not say this because we feel superior but because Jesus Christ is superior! He is the centre of all places, all times, all events, all history.
They crucified Him for claiming ‘too much’. So they will crucify us as well for saying the same things. Even other believers will persecute us.
It makes it harder when we are persecuted but we see we must hold on to the truth.
How can we convince others? Not by human efforts alone. We need the same miraculous power that has kept the Church afloat all this time, despite so many external persecutions and internal divisions; so much sin and scandal from the disciples of Christ.
It has to be a miracle we have come this far.
Many say the Church is corrupt, so why join it? It is still the Body of Christ, still the vehicle He uses to save the world, still the tree to which we must be joined.
This is one of the things He was telling us in parables, and which we are still challenged to understand. There is one Saviour and only one. Any alternative and we will not be saved.