Scripture reflections – Sunday, October 2nd

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Is 5:1-7; Phil 4:6-9; Mt 21:33-43

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul’s prayer for the community is that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” may come to rest upon them.  I like this verse very much because it offers a nice insight into the kind of peace God offers.

To say that God’s peace surpasses all understanding is to say that it’s not grounded in human logic.  We cannot count on finding peace through an appraisal of the world’s situation, no matter how optimistically we try and spin things.   Nor can we gain much peace based on a confidence that the awesome power of the human intellect will inevitably be put to service for the betterment of the world.  Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

Even the prayerful,  responsible, intelligent way we atempt to conduct  our own lives can’t guarantee us freedom from calamity.  And a healthy, vital spiritual life offers no bullet-proof shield against the dark night of the soul when the absence of God seems so much more palpable than God’s presence.  (Just ask Mother Teresa about that.)

The peace that God offers to us is much bigger than all of this – so much bigger than any concepts or dreams of ours we bring forth to try and contain it.   It’s a transcendant peace that breaks into the cocoon of time and space in which we live, touching us at the deepest core of our being, reminding us that there is something permanent beyond all the passing blessings and curses of our lives.  And when that which is temporary vanishes, it is this peace which gives us the assurance on the level of Faith that we will not vanish.   In fact, we will for the first time understand what it means to truly live.

Jim Philipps (3rdmillennium pilgrim)

(To purchase my book-lenght reflections on the scriptures, go to www.twentythirdpublications.com)

 

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