Pondering for Thursday, December 5, 2019

Readings for Clement of Alexandria Priest, c. 210 December 5

Psalm 34:9-14 Colossians 1:11-20 John 6:57-63

“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it”  (John 6:60)

Parishes call priests to lead them.  These are priests who have not only been called to ordained ministry but then sent to formalized training and education at a seminary so that they might better inform their congregations.  But it requires trust.  When the priest enters the parish parishioners must trust that the priest both understands scripture a little deeper and the priest’s heart is fixed on the will of God. Jesus ran into the same situation in the reading from John.  Clement of Alexandria too was also challenged.

“Clement was born in the middle of the second century. He was a cultured Greek philosopher who sought truth in many schools until he met Pantaneaus, founder of the Christian Catechetical School at Alexandria in Egypt. Clement succeeded Pantaneaus as head of that school in about 190, and was for many years an apologist for the Christian faith to both pagans and Christians. His learning and allegorical exegesis of the Bible helped to commend Christianity to the intellectual circles of Alexandria. His work prepared the way for his pupil Origen, the most eminent theologian of early Greek Christianity, and his liberal approach to secular knowledge laid the foundations of Christian humanism. During the persecution under the Emperor Severus in 202, he fled Alexandria. The exact time and place of his death are unknown.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for December 5)

Many people have certain beliefs about what God wants.  Often, too often, they are (or have been) misinformed.  God wants all people of the world to have open hearts and minds to the good that God is doing, not just a few.

“Clement lived in the age of “Gnosticism,” a comprehensive term for many theories or ways of salvation current in the second and third centuries, all emphasizing “Gnosis” or “knowledge.” Salvation, for Gnostics, was to be had through a secret and rather esoteric knowledge accessible only to a few. It was salvation from the world, rather than salvation of the world. Clement asserted that there was a true Christian Gnosis, to be found in the Scriptures, available to all.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for December 5)

We should not try to become God.  Whatever plan God has for us “it will be done.”  When we create our own interpretation of what we think God wants we usurp God’s will and it leads to an idolatry that pushes us away from the will of God.  We must continue to call and then listen to priests who have been properly educated in the open and all inclusive love of God for all people.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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