Tuesday, January 17, 2017

“Legalism says God will love us if we change. The gospel says God will change us because He loves us.”

“You win over people just like you win over a dog. You see a dog passing down the street with an old bone in his mouth. You don't grab the bone from him and tell him it's not good for him. He'll growl at you. It's the only thing he has. But you throw a big fat lamb chop in front of him, and he's going to drop that bone and pick up the lamb chop, his tail wagging to beat the band. And you've got a friend. Instead of going around grabbing bones from people... I'm going to throw them some lamb chops. Something with real meat and life in it. I'm going to tell them about New Beginnings.”  David Wilkerson: (1931 – 2011: was an American Christian evangelist)

Scripture Text: (HEB 6:10-20)
Brothers and sisters:
God is not unjust so as to overlook your work
and the love you have demonstrated for his name
by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness
for the fulfillment of hope until the end,
so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who,
through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham,
since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
and said, I will indeed bless you and multiply you.
And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
Now, men swear by someone greater than themselves;
for them an oath serves as a guarantee
and puts an end to all argument.
So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise
an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose,
he intervened with an oath,
so that by two immutable things,
in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged
to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.
This we have as an anchor of the soul,
sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,
where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner,
becoming high priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

The passage from Hebrews warns us not to become “sluggish” regarding the object of our hope but instead to keep our attention fixed on it. It is a perceptive and timely reminder that affirms not only how easy it is to turn away from the good that God has in store for us, but also to begin to doubt its very possibility. Or, perhaps more likely, we fill our lives with so many distractions and attach our hearts to so many lesser goods that we gradually forget that there is something greater, something far lovelier, and something infinitely more hopeful to which God calls us. In order to avoid those disheartening possibilities, there are two things we can do. First, as Hebrews reminds us, we must remember that all of us are heirs to the love, goodness, and mercy of God. God wants to bless us and will bless us because God, as the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus vividly testify, is faithful to his promises. Second, as our gospel today from Mass memorably illustrates (MK 2:23-28), we keep hope alive not when we are gloomy legalists who live to find fault with others, but when we seek to do good in whatever way we can.

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