Up or down. Asleep or awake? Then there is also big, small and the colorless black, white. Life’s opposites. Or, so we think. It’s been said that in dating, opposites often attract. In religion we believe the opposite of opposites. In religion, opposites unite. In daily life, it makes sense to keep opposites opposite, as they are defined. The Christian paradox is living with a trusting faith about opposite’s unique oneness. The prayer that even an Alzheimer’s patient can still say, says it all, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Another favorite of us all is, beginning and ending.
Between the new seed and the fully grown tree, a fourth century saint wrote, “Born a man [Jesus] was humbled like a seed and in ascending to heaven was exalted like a tree. It is clear that Jesus is a seed when he suffers and a tree when he rises. He is a seed when he endures hunger and a tree when satisfies five thousand men with [only] five loaves. In the one case, he endures barrenness in his human condition, in the other he bestows fullness by his divinity. I would dare that the Lord is a seed when he is beaten, scorned, and cursed, but a tree when he enlightens the blind, raises the dead, and forgives sins.”
The Gospel says, “Unless the grain of wheat, falling upon the earth dies, it remains only a…”
How often we think sin and grace are earthly opposites when they are spiritually united. Admitting a failure or sin is awakening a growing grace. Receiving absolution provides the sacramental grace to continue living with a renewed commitment to our Creator.
It’s a word that should never be uttered in church or lived within our souls. November is our remembering month. Honoring those who have died, especially during this year. Talk about a union! Through the death of the earthly Jesus arises the new life of the risen Christ. We often think that Jesus’ last name is Christ. It’s not. It’s the perfect oneness of opposites that God intended. Putting those two words together for a living faith gives us the full name toward our salvation, “Jesus Christ.” That’s your proof of the union between knowing about this life but believing, with all your mind, heart, and soul in the life that is eternal. Here’s two more opposites for us folks of faith.
Well, here’s your uniting sentence to take home with you this week and prayerfully ponder. This temporary, passing happy earthly journey is but a taste, a sample of the eternal joy promised us by God.
So, what about the opposites of beginning and ending? Like a good sermon, both are respected today.