Pondering for Tuesday, January 17, 2023

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

Morning, Psalms 26 and 28; Evening, 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 couple of years ago a young woman in New York City, thought she “knew” a certain young man took her cell phone.  As it turned out, she left her phone in a car for hire and the driver returned it later.  My point is that sometimes when we think we “know” something, 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. Having said all this, I do believe Rohr has made the transition from believing to knowing our Lord Jesus. I pray the same for myself someday.

I find it somewhat reassuring that our readings for today reference the requirement for respect for the Holy Spirit of God.  From our Gospel according of Mark, and our Ephesians’ reading, 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 truly 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)

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Iran and China.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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