Thursday, March 7, 2019

Luke for Lent: 1:5-10

The Word of God:

"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth. And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame. And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense."

The Word of Man:

 Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God." Other translations say "fallen short of the glory of God." Either way, we are not where we should be with God, and we need his grace and glory.

That verse is often used to attack the Immaculate Conception of Mary on account of the absolute.

Are absolutes always absolute? Yes and no.

They are absolutes rhetorically.

  • "Everybody is doing it." "You're not."
  • "Was the park crowded?" "Oh yes, everybody and their dog was there." (So said to a member of the everybody who was not there.)
  • "There is not any man just." (Romans 3:10)
In common speech and in the Bible, absolutes are used rhetorically without necessarily implying a logical statement about reality. In other words, there can be exception or qualifications.

Case in point: Romans 3:10 says "There is not any man just" but Luke 1:6 says, "They were both just before God." How can they be just if no one is just? By the grace of God. We are not just by our (fallen) nature, but we are made just by grace through faith. As Bishop Challoner writes:

"There is not any man just": viz. By virtue either of the law of nature, or of the law of Moses; but only by faith and grace.

God gives some of us grace from the moment of our conception, others grace at other points of our life. The desire to turn to God and please him is itself a grace, for "there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11). Turn to God in prayer on this day at this very moment and plead for him to shower you with the grace to be pleasing in his sight. Let Christ into your heart so he can make your heart like his own Sacred Heart.

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