“Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely.”
Martin Luther, 1527 – Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague
Abraham and Nicodemus were two very interesting men. They were separated by centuries, but united by one very important thing. Faith. Faith in God and His love. Their stories, given to us in the Bible, show us that God is, in fact, merciful in spite of our own weaknesses. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, so that people, like you and me, might have eternal life and peace.
We do many things to create the illusion that we are okay. Medication helps mask the pain, but there may be something seriously wrong inside. Medication covers our ailments. We distract ourselves from the pain, sorrow, guilt and discomfort of this world by indulging in all kinds of sin and vice. Gambling, drinking, lust, drugs, entertainment... But, there is a true reality. Our sin is serious. It divides us from a loving God, who really wants you. He forgives, renews, and sets free. He did it by taking your sins, your failures, your seriously sick heart and replacing it with the perfection of His Son, Jesus. The reality is, your sins are serious, but God's love for you is even greater.
We are often judged by the company we keep. Hang out with the greedy and selfish, and you will be seen as greedy and selfish. Hang out with sinners and prostitutes and you will be seen as ... well, you get the idea. Jesus hung out with sinners, too, though. He hung out with sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the pious, the diseased, the demon possessed, and, He, too, was judged. But, He also, hung out, literally on the cross, with thieves. One of which, asked for forgiveness and was absolved, right there. I would think he was happy being in the company of Jesus. How about you?
Obedience can be hard. Yet, it is demanded of us from all over. The government demands obedience to its laws. Parents demand obedience of their children. But, when our God demands obedience ...
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells those who are listening to Him that they are to be salt and light in decaying and darkened world. St. Paul tells the people in Corinth about a mystery that the world does not know. When that mystery was revealed, it shattered the darkness and began the healing of a decaying world. What was that mystery? Well...you know...
Today is a day not often commemorated. It is the same time every year, but does not often fall on a Sunday. The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord arrives forty days after Christmas and is a fulfillment of Old Testament Law, given through Moses. But, it was it really their sacrifices on this day that made them pure? Or, was there another sacrifice that had to be made?
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 1:21-28; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40