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Posts Tagged ‘sola fide’

 In today’s liturgy we read Paul in 1 Corinthians.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,  

and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  
All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,  and the rock was the Christ.  
Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.  
 These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.  
 
Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer.  
These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. 
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 cor 10:1-6, 10-12

Paul draws the comparison between the disobediant Israelites under Moses to those present Christians in Corinth.  God sent the Israelites a savior from their bondage in Egypt (Moses) as He would send the “new Moses” Christ Jesus to lead mankind from its bondage in sin.  The Israelites passed through cloud (Spirit) and sea (water) just as we are now baptized.  God provided real and spiritual food and drink for their sustenance, just as Jesus now provides His real body and blood which we eat and drink for our spiritual wellness.  As the Israelites participated as a community, so do we. 

Yet, with all that God had done for the Israelites, most fell into grumbling, idol-worshipping, and disobedience and were “struck down in the desert.”  They did not complete the forty years wanderings to make it to the promised land.

Paul warns us that just like them, we may suffer (eternal) death, though we too have been chosen by God, saved through baptism of water and spirit, and have eaten and drunk from the communal cup.  At any time, we may fall back into idolatrous behavior, in other words, Sin! 

The doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved is a false assurance.  Though God fills our lives with blessings and provides the grace necessary to sustain and save us, at any time any of us might fall into temptation, a fall that may take us away from salvation, just as the Israelites – for whom God sent Moses, performed miraculous deeds and parted the sea – were eventually struck down in the desert.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 13:1-9) , we see that the owner of the fig tree is disgusted that so much time has passed, yet his tree has not born fruit.  Why should he not cut it down?  But the vine dresser offers to provide a year’s worth of extra nurturing.  One more chance for the fig tree to show its worth and do credit to the owner. 

God is patient with us as we find our way to Him…and back to Him.  But remember that despite His infinite patience, a time will come when we will be called to account and on that day, we will pass the test, or we will be cut down.  Some people might think this is unfair.  Why?  hasn’t God provided Jesus Christ for our salvation?  the words of life in the Gospels and in the other books of the Scripture?  the apostolic priesthood to be reconciled to Him and from which to receive the sacraments?  the holy Church to teach and guide us?  grace to sustain us?  the Holy Spirit to lead us?  Some say a loving God would not abandon us because of our sinful ways, because we are doomed to fall to temptation.  I say, our God loves us as any good father does, and therefore, expects us to do our best.

If today you observe yourself and you are doing the modern equivalent of dancing around a golden calf, then today is the day to repent.

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy. And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity. 4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. 6 To you only have I sinned, and have done evil before you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged. 7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. 8 For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me. 9 You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 10 To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. 11 Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. 13 Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me. 14 Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. 15 I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you. 16 Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice. 17 O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise. 18 For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted. 19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51

Just a reminder that I reject the dunghill theory of Luther’s.

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