April 28, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings demonstrate how hard it is for some people to believe – because deepening belief usually requires a soul-change.
In our first reading, the high priest and Sanhedrin just don’t get it. No matter how severe the oppression, Peter and the Apostles are not going to stop sharing the Good News. Even miracles and inexplicable prison escapes do not convince them that maybe the Apostles have some special blessing to offer them.
Why won’t the Sanhedrin listen? Why are they in such denial about what they are witnessing?
The Sanhedrin were members of a privileged class. They had things set up nicely to their material benefit. Jesus was a bombshell turning their comfortable world upside down. So they resorted to any tool possible to eradicate him: denial, oppression, persecution, even murder.
But the Good News of Jesus Christ is ineradicable.
In our Gospel, John minces no words about the fate of unbelievers:
The Father loves the SonJohn 3:35-36
and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.
When I look at our world, I see a lot of that “wrath”, don’t you? I see situations of war, pain, injustice, greed, and irreverence for Creation that could not exist in a truly believing world.
Seeing these things, I examine my own life for the places where faith has not converted me, for the kinds of resistant behaviors that prevented the Sanhedrin from receiving the greatest gift possible – a fully faithful and compassionate heart in the image of Jesus Christ.
Poetry: What We Need is Here – Wendell Berry
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end. In time’s maze
over fall fields, we name names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
Music: A Faithful Heart – Libera
(I imagine that this lovely song is usually interpreted as a marriage canticle, but I think it perfectly describes the sacred covenant between God and the faithful believer.)