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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Are you willing to accept that retreat can be the better form of valor from time to time? - Daily Reflections October 31, 2015

MENTAL GYMNASTICS OF PAUL
 
We all come across difficult issues and problems in our lives, some of which have no solution per se. We just have to learn to live with certain imperfections, whether our own or those of another person. The same is true in our faith.
       Paul tries in many different ways to reconcile in his mind the failure of most of the Jews to accept and recognize the Messiah for which God had been preparing them for about 2,000 years, but he simply could not do it. There is no easy answer to this dilemma. The answer resides at least partially in the mystery of the nature of free will.
       Paul clearly loves the Jewish people even though he will spend most of his ministry preaching to the Gentiles. He wants the Jews to be saved but he is not going to bang his head against a brick wall forever. If the Jews do not want to accept the Gospel, then he will take it to the Gentiles and try to shame them into faith in Jesus Christ. A good idea if it works, but it does not.
       I think Paul would have eventually reconciled himself to the place of free will in the economy of salvation, and while I am sure he continued to hope and pray for the conversion of the Jews, he was quite happy to direct his attention to the Gentiles for their salvation. We see that he always gives the Jews a chance to respond by going first to the synagogue in the town he preaches. But if there is no response there, he quickly shifts his focus to the market place and the many Gentiles therein.
       May we always have the good sense to know when we cannot find the answer to a particular problem and allow the Spirit to lead us where we need to go next. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
 
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you willing to accept that retreat can be the better form of valor from time to time?
 
Holy Spirit, lead me in Your ways of truth and love. Help me to persevere and to know when it is time to shift my focus from the undoable tasks that often crop up in life.
 

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