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With God, All Things Are Possible . . . Except One


God never made a promise that was too good to be true.” ~ Dwight L. Moody

We continue today, as we will into the first week of February with but a few exceptions, to plunge deeper into the Epistle to the Hebrews, perhaps better known simply as “The Letter to the Hebrews.” Dubbed The Holy of Holies by many biblical theologians, the Letter to the Hebrews has been likened to a Mini-Catechism due to the fullness and richness of its teachings.

In today’s Passage (Hebrews 6:10-20), we are reminded of the importance of perseverance, faith, and patience as we await the fulfillment of God’s promises. “Hold fast to the hope that lies before us” we’re told (6:18), a timeless message that all can take solace in, perhaps even more so on the heels of a year low-lighted by an unforeseen and unpredictable global pandemic, simmering racial tensions and a vitriolic presidential election that has left our country torn in half, much like it did four years ago. Much like it will most likely leave us four years from now. But that’s a topic for another day.

Faithfulness to God will get us through these still unfolding situations just as it will anything that the future may hold. And who’s to say that in the rocky aftermath of 2020, the year 2021 isn’t waiting in the wings saying, to borrow a popular phrase, “Hold my beer?” Still, I’m reminded of the words of Saint Teresa of Avila, who said of our jagged earthly journey “In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth will be seen to be no more serious than one night in a bad hotel.”

Frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, our divine food for the journey, wisdom-soaked scripture passages like the one we read today and our relationships, those people that God so lovingly, meticulously, and generously puts in our lives, help us to persevere as we complete our journey home to the Father’s House. We can, as Saint Paul was fond of saying, “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

But there was something else that resonated in today’s Reading, a simple but immutable tenet of our faith, one that cannot be overlooked or overemphasized. It was in fact the inspiration for the title of today’s Reflection. As this passage explored the origins of God’s promise to Abraham, Paul said of God’s fidelity to this oath “ is impossible for God to lie.” Given our tendency, subconsciously or otherwise, to view our relationship with God through the prism of our flawed human relationships, it can be at times difficult to fathom a truth so profound. What a radical departure from even our most sound human relationships. It is impossible for God to betray that which defines his very essence; God is truth. His Sin Jesus, the word of God made flesh, is the truth made manifest. Simply put, God cannot not be God.

Conversely, it is quite impossible for us in our fallen and sinful state not to lie. Even the great George Washington, who so famously declared “I cannot tell a lie,” no doubt uttered an occasional falsehood somewhere beyond the felled cherry tree. The major cable news networks bombard us with a daily cavalcade of political guests many of whom, quite frankly, do nothingbut lie. They do so with the bloodless confidence of a hitman. Dishonesty and the bearing of false witness has become so commonplace in our culture that we’ve become anesthetized to it. Yet Scripture tells us over and over again that liars will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Revelation 21:8, Proverbs 19:9, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:10, Exodus 20:16, John 8:44, Revelation 22:15. I could go on. This is troubling.

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Lies are simply made up realities, a way of organizing our lives in a way to suit our misguided desires or justify our prejudices. Passion Week, which will be upon us before we know it, was predicated on lies. Lies were told by political leaders, religious figures, Jesus’ closest friends the Apostles; the list goes on and on. Perhaps this is why God so detests lying. In the end, Jesus stood alone for the truth. He defended the truth. He died for the truth. Because of his passion and Crucifixion, death itself has been relegated to a mere lie. This alone should motivate us to live a life rooted in honesty. Saint Vincent de Paul once said “Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying.” As discussed in the past, the virtue of humility is the remedy for countless vices

I leave you with a quote from the Book of Proverbs (4:23-26), a passage which speaks beautifully to the importance of cultivating a spirit of honesty, purity and perseverance in our daily lives:

“Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Take heed to the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.”

....and that’s no lie.

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