4 May 2016
It was the resurrection that put them over the edge. The people in Athens were listening to what Saint Paul had to say, but when he started talking about Jesus rising from the dead . . . well, that was it for a lot of them. “Some began to scoff;” others politely dismissed him. But a few wanted to know more and believed him. But it was Paul’s talk of “resurrection” that had become a hurdle for them and their beliefs.
Of course, we might have our own hurdles to face as well. Now, we’re very used to the idea of resurrection; we’re used to the idea of bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ. Those are mind-blowing things—but they aren’t necessarily hurdles for us. But are there teachings of Christ and his Apostles (and the Church) which are challenges to our faith?
What about the idea of “deification:” the idea that our life in Christ will eventually make us (to some degree) divine, and God-like? It’s a teaching of Saint Paul, and part of Christ’s desire for us. It that a challenge to our beliefs and ideas?
What about the idea of “loving God above all else:” the idea that the Church isn’t a social organization, but that she exists above all to love and adore God? It’s a teaching of the Church, and it follows from the First and Greatest Commandment. Is that a challenge to our beliefs and ideas?
What about the idea of “purgatory:” not as a fiery, hellish limbo, but as a place we want to find ourselves—because it’s the “front porch” of heaven; a place to take off our dirty shoes and wash up before going into heaven. What about the idea of “purgatory” as a place we want to be? Is that a challenge to our beliefs and ideas?
Our God is not the Unknown God of the ancient Athenians. Our God has revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. But with all that he wants to tell us and show us, are there ideas in our faith which we “cannot bear right now.” Are there teachings or ideas that make us raise our eyebrows and say, “Hmm."
Jesus has “much more to tell” us—even today—about life and faith. The “good news,” though, is that he’s sent the Spirit of Truth to help us. Come Holy Spirit; lead us into the Light of Truth.