Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lest We Fall!

"Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for the man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!" 

Some time back I started to review Fr. Robert Barron's reflection (Word on Fire) on the Catholic Faith concerning Hell and what we must believe. Time and commitments intervened and it was not done, but the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Matthew and the lot of Judas got me thinking again. My worry is for all of us who presume prerogatives simply because we have been at table (if you will) with Jesus. My worry is that not only in what we do wrong or fail to do right or fail to do at all but also in failing to hear (take cognizance) of the word of the Son, as the Voice of the Father admonished in words to hear at the Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan or Transfigured on Mt. Tabor, we are not stung to the heart by His woe statement having application to more than the crime of tragic Judas: "Better for that man if he had never been born!" 

Fr. Barron, I wish to stick with St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, with the graphics of medieval and rennaissance frescoes and paintings of the Final Judgment. The children at Fatima had the message to be heard and heeded in terms of the final end of not only that one, but of all those who fail to register the words of the Son of Man: "Better for that man if he had never been born!" 

Fire and brimstone on Palm Sunday? Yes and why not? Ours is a spiritual combat and failing to take up arms against the Evil One, against the "accuser of our brothers" whom Jesus by His victory on the Cross has cast out, failing to struggle is declining the invitation to choose life. Do little boys and girls today play at being heroic and chivalrous? Some do, I am sure. But I fear that heroism and the patriotic fight are not common fare in the domestic culture of our day. The do or die tension of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is lost on the folk, I fear, and relished as a movie experience to be lumped with the violent of the vampire genre...

I won't shout "fear for your soul!" but I will take a clue from St. Paul and say "Watch out lest you fall!" The richness of Scriptures draws us to follow Christ, hurrying on behind Him in the beauty of His fragrance, but also cognizant that if we are not with Him... well, then we are against Him. At some point, our grave choices against life and love as willed by God, our materialism on the backs of the poor and potential future generations, our languishing in the shadows, like Judas and his read on what should have been expected from the Messiah, meek and riding on a donkey, whom he refused...well, at some point those choices or no's will catch up with us. "Better for that man if he had never been born!" 


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