In season and out of season

“Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” – 2 Timothy 4:2

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Urgent? Why be urgent if nothing serious is at stake?

The Gospel yesterday was profound. Jesus’ audience probably could not have imagined a worse “end” than being brutally and publicly executed by a pagan occupying force and your blood being used to commit such horrible sacrilege. And yet Jesus, after indicating that the Galileans who had suffered such a fate couldn’t be considered worse sinners than their countrymen, goes on to say, “I tell you, if you do not repent, you will perish as they did!” What is the implication here? All sinners are deserving of such punishment. And we are all sinners. Jesus is thus making clear that our repentance cannot be delayed. He continues this message by offering the parable of the fig tree. We often highlight God’s patience and mercy by this parable – and that makes sense especially given that the Psalm response is “The Lord is kind and merciful.” But it is striking that though the fruitless fig tree is given another year (a year of special attention and care, a last-ditch, extreme and persistent effort to save it), it will be cut down at the end of that year if it does not bear fruit. It seems that there will be a moment when the time of mercy is over, and what is left is judgment.

So, why be urgent? Because something gravely serious is at stake: the eternal salvation of people’s immortal souls. But do we even believe this any longer? Continue reading

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A kiss is just a kiss?

“But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?’”  – Lk. 22:48

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Considering the current “hook up” culture, it is reasonable to ask: “Does a kiss mean anything anymore?”

And yet, this is simply one example of a more fundamental divide. Do the world and the things in it have an objective meaning and purpose, or is all meaning subjectively assigned and thus relative? In other words, does anything mean… well… anything?

I have come to believe, however, that these questions ultimately lead to the Ultimate, to the question of all questions: Is there a Creator or not? For if there is a Creator who is an Intelligence, then the world is intelligible. Then things are created for a purpose, for an end, and have intrinsic meaning – for if all rational beings act for an end, then certainly the One who is Reason (Logos) and Being itself does. If there is no God, then there is no meaning. No real meaning anyway; nothing upon which you can hang your hat (or bet your life). Continue reading

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