Scripture reflections – Sunday, July 30th, 2011

Is55:1-3; Rom 8:35, 37-39; Mt 14:13 – 21

“Who can separate us from the love of Christ?”

I’m writing this blog entry while on vacation and something happened this morning that has given me a new perspective on Paul’s words from this Sunday’s second reading.  We were all in a boat with people taking turns water skiing on the lake.  My son’s turn came up , so I jumped off of the boat to bring the tow line over to him.  What I didn’t realize was that the wind was pushing the boat one way and me the other.  I handed the line off to my nephew who gave it to my son and started to swim through the waves to the boat.  I was about two thirds of the way back when I started to feel winded and began to wonder if I could make it back to the boat on my own.  I could feel myself beginning to panic and – sacrificing dignity (or maybe affirming what my nephews already thought but were too polite to say) I called to the three of  them – all of whom are terrific swimmers I should add – to help me get back.

No harm done, except perhaps a few dents in my pride.  But the feeling stays with me – how terrifying it was for a moment when I felt I might be in danger- that I was helpless in the hands of fate and there was nothing I could do about it.

I think what Paul recognized and what we  miss is that this is often how we feel as we journey through life.  We see the arbitraryness of it all – perhaps from terrible personal experience – and deep within our psyche festers this raw wound of vulnerability.  It’s too terrifying to allow into consciousness for very long, so we all develop creative ways to push it back down (that can’t happen to me bacause….. He deserved what he got because…..).  Rather than being motivated by Love, our actions are motivated by a barely disguised panic.

If this all sounds familiar to you, I would invite you to join me in taking Paul’s advice, at least for the weekend.  Relax.   Yes, we are floating in the midst of a vast reservoir the depth of which we can’t even fathom, let alone reach.   And eventually it will completely engulf us.  But no need to fear – that vast reservoir is the incomprehensible ocean of God’s love.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?  Nothing in creation or outside of it.  So lean back and let the currents take you where they will.

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

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