Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Promises, Promises

At the second temptation, the devil tells Jesus to throw Himself down from the highest point in the city. Everyone will see God magnified in this act! Think of the possibilities! He reminds Jesus He can essentially do whatever He wants because He'll be saved no matter what... But Jesus replies that no one should test the Lord. How many people test the Lord by believing they can take a flying leap into the ether, hit rock bottom, forsake the heart of their faith & still be assured eternal salvation? Jesus saves for good, no matter what! To God be the glory! (I'm being sarcastic here.) Even Jesus wasn't willing to test God in such a way.

Catholicism doesn't promise me salvation based on who I am (a child of God), what I confess with my mouth or even what I believe in my heart. It doesn't actually "promise" me anything. Instead, it extends the grace of Jesus' exhortation to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind & strength & to love my neighbor as myself. Like Paul, the church encourages me to work out my salvation with fear & trembling. Like Peter, the church reminds me that I am part of a royal priesthood, a chosen people, a holy nation & I should live my life as such. In all these instances, I am called to love, to work, to serve & to live up to the standards to which Christ has called each of His followers. Catholicism does not promise salvation, but makes it available, accessible. Through the sacraments, through the Mass, through the Word, worship & prayer, salvation can be found when lived out within the community- Christ's own Body- the church. There is no other Name by which we can be saved. Jesus has done His part & I must do mine. I must put His gift of salvation to use or its no good to me. It would seem the ultimate success of Christ's mission is up to us in the end...

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