I will be away for over a week…vacation time!
“…since the foundation of the world”
The entire foundation of the material universe began with an infinitely small thing, a singularity. This little thing then expanded and grew; Time and Space, energy and matter, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, et al then us, humanity.
Yes, there is a deep wisdom that resides in creation; God communicates a deep truth.
For me, giving into my fears was the fabric of my life. Those fears made me give up way to easily.
And I looked for a miracle, something huge that would change everything for me…and it never came.
What did arrive was simple gifts, like simple fish and loaves, that helped me to eventually understand, see and live differently.
That saving moment was a panic attack years ago.
Despair still always lurks, it hovers inside even to this day. It likes to come out when I feel overwhelmed by life.
When I feel it coming out, if I am alert, I go back to the core. I am a beloved child of God, and nothing can diminish that.
2Kgs 4:42-44; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15
Salvation is to know, trust and experience the very love of the Father.
Salvation is to know and experience that the very core of our being, our identity is that we are beloved children of God.
Salvation is manifested in our trust, in our hope, in our openness, in going beyond our limits. The Salvation of Jesus Christ is manifested in our attitude and choices.
And the Opposite of Salvation, I would say is Despair.
Despair is when we give up, when we lose hope; it is when we quit growing; quit acting; and we see no other way in solving problems. It is an attitude of defeatism. We only see failure, failure, failure. We connect our identity to things, and our own ability to succeed.
So the question for us: Are we living out our salvation in Christ, or are we living in despair?
Now, I don’t think that this a black and white answer. Because I don’t think we always recognize despair and its influences upon us. It is not always this pure darkness, not this pure depression.
I think our readings help us to see that despair can be quite subtle. And conversely, living Salvation begins with simple acts. Philip and the servant of Elisha were verging on despair. They were confronted by a large problem, and their response was “What good will this actually do?”
I would say both were overwhelmed by the situation, and had little hope or trust that they could affect any difference. They saw failure, and only failure.
Recently, a person had asked me about the possibility of offering a retreat for a group. I asked what kind of topic. The person said: “How about how evil the world is.” My reply was that the world is not evil; God created a world that is Good. So the world is Good! The response back was: What about all the shooters and violence? My response was, that yes, people can and do evil and stupid things, but the world still remains Good. There was no response, except a turning of the back and walking away.
I am thinking that this person has given into despair. When we see no good, all is evil; we have given up.
And I hear a bit from others lamenting about the state of the world, politics et al. And people so caught up in their lives with addictions, marital and family problems, illness…
People in despair, people who are losing their hope only see the violence, the threats against them and their way of life. People who can’t see beyond their own pain. Despair sets in, and it gets hard to see the little things and not so little things that are happening that are making a difference.
It can become hard to see those subtle gifts being offered that make such a difference.
Gifts such as the thousands each week who are being fed and cared for through the network of Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada, and how they are working with other Christian and civil groups to continue to offer services to those in need.
Gifts such as this coming week, over 200 kids will gather here in Reno for Catholic Heart Work Camp, and they will go throughout our community offering assistance in many different forms to those in need.
Simple gifts such as the men and women who go to nursing homes to visit, bring communion, bring community to our elderly.
See, goodness is being done. People are manifesting salvation: People are providing hope to others.
And for those who claim an evil world, recently I saw a video that actually shows we are in a long period of historic peace. The number of wars and violence since the end of WWII has decreased.
Salvation is to hope for change, to look for change and to act. Salvation is to believe that there is goodness and to work for that goodness. Salvation is to trust that evil will not win.
Again in the readings, simple gifts were provided, and a risk was taken in using those gifts, and all were fed. Good was done in a very subtle way.
This is the Good News. Christ calls us to see differently, to act differently, to not give into our fears, our egos, into despair.
Yes, we recognize that there is evil in our world, but we TRUST that the evil will not win, and we make choices against it.
And isn’t that the whole celebration of the Eucharist in a nutshell?
We come together as a community, to know that we are not alone. We listen to God’s great plan, covenant, that God is always with us. We remember that plan made flesh and blood in Emmanuel, Jesus Christ. We eat and drink of his resurrected body and blood; sacrament of God’s victory over evil, a victory that surprised all.
And of course, we then GO.
Go and live out that salvation
Go and make choices that bring about this salvation more and more
Go and spread the Good News…We live in a Good and Holy World.