24th Sunday C
11th September 2022
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them”
The Bible is a mirror of life. It is a mirror and when used properly, can be a real enlightenment for our own selves as well as a window through which we can survey the ways of the world in all their goodness and in all its wickedness.
The anchor event of the Old Testament is the Exodus – the Lord’s liberation of his people from the slavery of Egypt through his servant Moses. No sooner than their journey into freedom started, with the trials of the desert – they began complaining about the food and misery. Later on, we hear the piece about their idolatry of the Golden Calf “They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them” the Lord tells Moses. At Moses’ pleading the Lord relents and shows mercy.
Listening to the Exodus story to-day has a real contemporary ring to it – our tendency to complain seems relentless and we are constantly creating new “Gods” for ourselves – straying far from the way of freedom the Lord calls us to.
Despite those tendencies to complain and follow our own paths of sinful and selfish ways the wonderful reality is that the Lord is ever merciful and loving in all his ways.
The Psalm verses and Paul writing to Timothy are so fulsome in their appreciation of God’s acceptance of us even despite our wayward paths. No wonder Pope Francis set aside a Year of Mercy to help us appreciate this great blessing in life. The Gospel picture is painted in a way that it conveys the Lord is searching for us but we don’t believe it.
One of the insights of psychology to-day is that we have difficulty for some reason forgiving ourselves for our failure and wrongdoing in the past and because of that we struggle to accept and take to heart God’s love for us and thereby sense the healing balm of his forgiveness.
Put that side by side with many people’s failure to realise and recognise the sinful nature of their thinking and living their hearts are hardened and are closed to the path of inner freedom and peace the love of God pours into our spirit / mind / soul. This hardness of heart is very pervasive in personal relationships, in family, in work and in recreation. It chokes the joy out of life for ourselves and for others. A new manifestation of it in life to-day is the way social media is used so negatively to destroy the character and reputation of others. This behaviour is profoundly sinful, destructive and malign in intent.
The Bible is a mirror of life. Hearing the Word attentively enables us to identify the splinter in our eye and open our eyes to a clearer focus on the truth of our lives.