Tag Archives: catholic

All Saints: Could God be ‘poor’ in spirit?

Matthew 5: 1-12 Happy the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven …

In many ways poverty of spirit goes to the heart of the Gospel – it’s the key to understanding so many Gospel readings. Remember last Sundays Gospel? The two guys go up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector … Luke 18:9-14; it’s all about poverty of spirit.

If we are to be received by God we must approach Him in poverty of spirit.

Only an empty vessel can be filled.

Did you ever think about how we might describe God?

Could we describe God as poor in spirit? It sounds crazy I know, but God is not proud. God does not need to be proud! You and I might be proud, but not God. God has no need to boast! So how do we describe a nature that’s never proud, never boastful? Humble? Poor in spirit?

The beatitudes are God’s prescription for sanctity and as such reveal the true nature of God.

God is poor in ‘spirit’ in so far as He never imposes. He must be invited.

God is gentle.

God mourns – faced with His creation’s use of free will, He often mourns. Some, of course, console Him.

God hungers and thirsts for what is right. At every moment of every day God hungers and thirsts that you and I will do the right thing.

God is merciful.

God is pure in heart.

God is peaceful, non-violent.

God is often ignored, ridiculed, persecuted!

Now, if that’s what God is like, how do we compare … how do you compare?

Harvest Thanksgiving and faith masquerading as science!

This weekend we give thanks to God for the harvest … for little things that really are big things if we didn’t take so much for granted

But we do, we take so much for granted …

Yet life is full of wonder if we could see it … in little things like the food on the table … or a turnip, or where bread comes from … or my finger! No, I’m not going mad!

OK, forget my finger, try this – for my twenty first my Mum gave me one of my baby shoes all boxed up. It fits in the palm of my hand … amazing!

Still not good enough? Try the human brain! Try replicating the human brain!

Life is full of awe …

Turning to the big things; it’s a wonder, it’s amazing that there should be life on this planet at all, that anything should grow.

The universe is finely tuned to sustain life – so finely tuned that if any one of several factors was a fraction this way or that way, we couldn’t survive!

There are people who argue that’s down to chance.

It’s some chance because it is a precision so accurate that it is often compared to travelling hundreds of miles into space, throwing a dart at the earth and hitting a bulls-eye that is a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter!

You depend on that – if it was a fraction out you and I couldn’t survive.

And yet we can get so lost.

What’s happened to us (to so many) that we’ve lost the ability to appreciate life?

Of course, there are those who say that God has nothing to do with all this and use science to justify their argument.

Now, the best scientific minds will admit that we know but a fraction of all there is to know, that what we do know is but a tiny percentage of what can be known.

So, from a tiny percentage there are people willing to conclude – apparently scientifically – that there is no God!

Sorry, that’s not science, that’s faith in our own arrogance, our unsubstantiated belief that there is no God!

In other words, they give to a tiny part the authority of the whole!

So tonight let’s try to be grateful – life is bigger, much bigger, than you and me.

For small things and big things, for the wonder of it all, let’s be grateful.

For Lorna and Sean on their wedding day; two become one.

God’s understanding of marriage is two become one.

But Jesus goes deeper, two become one body (Matthew 19:4-6)

It’s as if something new is created, a new living reality, a bond like the blood relationship that exists between brother and sister.

Brother and sister, no matter how they try, cannot deny that they are brother and sister.

They might hate each other, they might never communicate, they might refuse to acknowledge the other but they are still biologically brother and sister.

Well Jesus seems to me to be saying that marriage creates a unique bond that we may try to break, deny, one way or another, but like the biological relationship between brother and sister we can deny it all we want, but in Gods sight the unique one-ness of marriage remains.

There is much evidence in the life of Jesus to support this view; the woman at the well … although you’ve had five (husbands) the one you have now is not your husband (John 4:17)

His rejection of divorce and the shock of the disciples as they try to comprehend (Matthew 19:7-10)

Now there’s another detail of two becoming one; two (male and female, husband and wife) do become one in a new born baby!

Of course this is what God intended; male and female should meet and gradually two become one.

Do you want to know a little about how Lorna and Sean started to become one?

Enter biographical details …

There comes a point where the process of two becoming one expresses itself sexually. This is the seal of the whole process (the seal of the marriage covenant)

The Catholic Church believes that the physical act speaks its own language, it has its own inner meaning, a meaning that’s obvious; I give myself to you completely in love.

Therefore it belongs to giving yourself to another human person exclusively in love – marriage.

The physical expresses something that’s already there, an inner reality, I am yours …

But if that inner reality is not there (if two are not really one) then we’re being used and we’re using!