Scripture Reflections – Sunday, November 24th, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to assist in the aid effort currently underway in the Philippines to assist the victims of the typhoon and recent earthquake, here are two good ways to do it: Contact the Red Cross (redcross.org.ph/donatenow) or The United Nations World Food Program (wfpusa.org)

2Sm 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23: 35-43
Feast of Christ the King

The passage from the letter to the Colossians traditionally attributed to Saint Paul is one of the great Christological hymns in scripture. It is a passage that invites us to reflect deeply in prayer about the meaning of the Incarnation for our world and for our lives. A wonderful way to observe the feast of Christ the King – the last Sunday of the liturgical year – would be to spend some time in quiet prayer this week with this passage.

For me, what stands out at the moment is the writer’s proclamation that, “in him (Christ) all things hold together.” There are days, and not just a few, where it doesn’t seem to me that anything is holding together on any level. The Great Recession here in the United States, the tremors of which the global economy is still feeling, reminds us how fragile that complex global economy really is – even for those who are able to participate in it. Always there are wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters (an entire subdivision in a Chicago suburb was wiped out by a tornado just this Sunday) to contend with. Oh, and by the way, twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War we still possess enough nuclear weapons to turn our planet into a radioactive cinder.

And then there’s my own life. My children are growing up and don’t need me in the same ways that they used to need me. I am hanging onto my job by a thread. My mother’s death last year has made it clear to me in a way it never has been before that, really, nothing is permanent in this life. My wife and I are aging, our priorities shifting as we begin to wonder what the next phase of life will bring. And all this in a time of relative peace and calm for us!

This idea that things hold together when looked at from any perspective through my logical mind seems to me to be the height of absurdity. And yet….in my most prayerful and truthful and sanest moments….when the presence of the Spirit is palpable…..I know it to be so. With a degree of assurance that is far deeper than my own consciousness. I catch glimpses, solid but almost incomprehensible, which reveal to me that I am a part of something greater. I am a living thread in a tapestry which, when fully woven will portray an image of Creation that will simply take my breath away. On that day, I will be filled only with the breath of the Spirit.

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
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