Pondering for Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Epiphany: Year 1

AM Psalms 26 and 28; PM Psalms 36 and 39:
Isaiah 44:9 to 20Ephesians 4:17 to 32Mark 3:19b to 35

“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3: 29 and 30)

Is our Lord Jesus saying that there is, after all, a limit to forgiveness?  So I look at this state of affairs as, “once we know, we can’t un-know.” Once we have experienced the holy presence of God, in Christ Jesus, or any divine manifestation, we move to certain knowledge beyond belief.

One of my friends in my Cursillo Reunion Group shared a quote from Richard Rohr, (American author, spiritual writer, and Franciscan friar based in Albuquerque, New Mexico), who said that he no longer believes in Jesus because he now “knows” Jesus. We often get confused about what we know and what we believe.  A few weeks ago a young woman in New York City “knew” a certain young man took her cell phone.  As it turned out, she left her phone in a car and the driver returned it later.  My point is that sometimes what we think we know, in reality, we only believe. At one point we believed the earth was flat, now we know it’s round.  We all really need to figure out a way to discern what we believe from what we know.

I find it somewhat spooky that our readings for today reference the requirement for respect for the Holy Spirit of God.  From our Gospel according to Mark, and our Ephesians’ reading for today, we are cautioned not to blaspheme or grieve the Holy Spirit.  To blaspheme is to curse or profane someone or something.  I think it is one thing to blaspheme what we think we believe. However, when God has blessed us with a glimmer of grace to the point that we know, that is, we actually experience the Holy, to then turn against such an experience is unforgivable. This is what I think our Lord Jesus meant.

As humanity, we are created in the Spiritual Image of our Creator.  For Christians, at baptism, we are marked as Christ’s own forever!  Therefore, as Paul writes to the Ephesians, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4: 30)

I have learned from the Gospel of John that God is, in fact, Spirit. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) So what is truth? The earth is round, not flat, that is a truth.  Even Pontius Pilate asked our Lord Jesus, what is truth? (John 18:38)  So here is truth: God is, and God loves us.  This is truth that supersedes belief, and takes us to that heavenly realm of knowing that must never, never, never be denied or blasphemed.

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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