Johannes Benninghoff, Youth Minister – 13 DEC 2018
The phrase used most in Sacred Scripture is “do not be afraid” or some form of it. In today’s first reading (Isaiah 41:13-20) God proclaims to Israel “‘Fear not, I will help you,’” (41:13). The reading goes on to tell us how God will provide in glorious ways. Josh was spot on when he told us that we can have faith in God to lead us to the best outcome. God desires nothing but the best for all of us! This is exactly why we must not be afraid.
This faith, this hope in God, Whom Pope Benedict XVI says is man’s true hope (Spe Salvi, para. 27), should move us to relationship with the True Love, God. This movement to love will lead us to truly live (ibid). Chaos makes this immensely difficult. We can end up trusting only ourselves and thus not seek God’s aid, which He promises us.
Sometimes the chaos in our lives is so great that we believe this to be Purgatory. However, we are imperfect in our sinfulness and need to be cleansed of the stains of our sin. As Catholics we cannot believe in reincarnation as we have a finite existence on earth. We are born and we die. Once we die, we either end up in Heaven or in Hell (there may be a stop in Purgatory). It can be argued that the belief that the current life is Purgatory is a defense mechanism to deal with the trauma of the chaos of life. It is better stated that we can learn and grow from the chaos of life.
Due to life’s harshness at times, and it can indeed be harsh, we often wonder how God could permit such craziness and hurt. Humanity is not perfect, because if it was it would be God. This is why Christ’s coming is so profound; God wants humanity to be truly united with Him! Christ came for this to be possible. God comes to lift up humanity! He becomes human to walk the walk and talk the talk. God becomes accessible and remains so!