Snacking on the Word: 2 Corinthians 5:20a

Today you get the vigorous prophet Joel telling of a nation so caught up in repentance, the whole populace contributes, sparing not even the newlyweds. Just picture if Bridezillas and their consorts were sucked in to the fray. Jesus preaches from the mount to give us the three pillars and make no show of it while we’re at it.

Then we have that semi-lost Pauline passage:

So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.

Contrary messages, which we should come to expect from the Christian life. Don’t let your hands know what the others are doing, but show forth your ashes so everybody knows you are a Catholic.

Maybe on second thought, these are not so contradictory. An ambassador is appointed by due authority. She or he serves not for the self, but on behalf of others. So too, the ashes of this Wednesday are sort of our diplomatic credentials. We don’t give our wax-sealed papers to everyone we meet, but we self-identify as a representative of the Lord Jesus. And how do we get these bona fides? Through an act of repentance.

Best behavior, I guess, especially for us bloggers. No diplomatic immunity, only added responsibilities to be a good example. Have a blessed first day of Lent.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Snacking on the Word: 2 Corinthians 5:20a

  1. Liam says:

    Matthew 6 is also geared towards psychological wisdom: people who make a show of starting on a path towards holiness are more easily discouraged when they fall off the path from getting back on the path. While it’s good to have an accountability partner (say a confessor or spiritual director or other person who is not vested in your path going one particular way), having an audience is something different. Unfortunately, more and more Americans are getting accustomed to the idea of having an audience….

  2. Randolph Nichols says:

    Did anyone this evening notice the ashes on the forehead of Ray Suarez during the PBS Newshour broadcast? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered that before, at least from a major tv personality.

  3. Anne says:

    I noticed VP Joe Biden didn’t remove his ashes for a news report.

  4. FrLarry says:

    What a great meditation! I think I know what my Ash Wednesday homily will be about next year. We’ve had two recent funerals in the parish in the past month for young people, so my homily this year was geared toward those existential questions which arise naturally in those traumas. Again, great post.

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