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EXTREMES

Updated: Feb 17




RESISTING THE GLORY OF CHRIST – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B           

Most people resist extremes such as extreme cold or heat. Some love extreme cold. Some love extreme heat. Some love extreme evil. Others hate it. Some love extreme good. Some hate extreme good. Some love extreme wealth. Some hate extreme wealth. Some love sports. Some hate sports. Some love intense, total expressions of belief. Some hate total, intense religious demonstrations. Some love work. Some hate it.

            Whatever reality we are considering we can find extremes on either end of the spectrum. Most people are going to fall somewhere toward the middle of the spectrum in most categories of life. In some categories all may lean more or less toward some extremes. The extremes are needed. We wouldn’t have certain events happen if there weren’t a few people totally given over to them. We wouldn’t have super bowl Sunday football without a few extremists. We wouldn’t have Olympic sports if there weren’t a few going to extremes to perfect their chosen sport. We need extremists in all areas of life. If we didn’t have extremists in all areas of life, we would not be aware of a lot of things. We need extreme environmentalists to keep us conscious of preserving natural resources. Extremists, sometime called revoluntionaries or fanatics, are needed to change extremely bad conditions. Those who engage in extreme evil give rise to the need for a few extremists on the side of good to counterbalance them.

            Everyone needs to be extreme or passionate in something good as we go through life. We need not resist all extremes in our life. There are a few who do not resist the full revelation of God in their lives. There are a few who totally resist the revelation of God. Most are in the middle wanting the revelation of God, but not the full revelation of God’s glory. It’s like the sun. Most want the sun to shine in their lives, but not in all its power and light. That would be too much.

            We heard in the Book of Deuteronomy that the Israelites asked the Lord to speak to them through the prophet Moses, because the glory of God revealed through fire and thunder on the mountain was too great for them to bear. “Moses spoke to the people, saying: ‘A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you among your own kin; to him shall you listen’. This is exactly what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb, on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’”

            The Lord insisted that people listen to Him indirectly through the prophet Moses. Through the prophet they would have the revelation of God without experiencing the full glory of God, which was too much for them. The Lord said: “This was well said…Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it”.

            The Lord revealed Himself in the New Testament by God becoming human in Jesus. The human nature of Jesus shielded people from seeing the full glory of Christ’s divine nature and glory. People would get glimpses of the glory of Christ through His teachings, which Mark said spell-bound the people. He taught with authority, that is with power and life. If He was teaching about healing, healing happened. If He was teaching about deliverance from evil spirits, people were delivered from evil spirits.

            Jesus may have been teaching about evil spirits when a man appeared with an unclean spirit. The unclean spirit or demon knew who Jesus was, and that He had come to deliver the human race and reveal God. “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God!” Jesus did come to destroy sin and evil. His mission continues by the Holy Spirit through the ages until the end of time or the fulfillment of God’s kingdom-reign.

            In our present state, we are not able to look directly on the Risen Lord. It would be like going directly into the sun, it would destroy us. The glory of Christ has to be shielded from us. We are able in this life to see Christ through the eyes of faith, enlightened by the Word of God and the unseen Holy Spirit. If Christ appeared to us in His full glory, we would die instantly!

            Many fear developing their faith vision too much. The impact on one’s life of the glory of Christ changes and transfigures, which can cause pain and suffering even as it brings us deeper life. The separation from sin and the embrace of God’s glory can be painful. Christ’s glory is a transforming glory, which many resist in its full impact.

            The Risen Lord is revealed to us in His Word and in the Sacramental Actions. If we could see with our physical eyes the presence of the Risen Lord in the Eucharist, we would die of joy. Many resist going too far on the spectrum toward a fuller vision of the Risen Lord in faith, just as many resist moving too far toward the spiritual darkness of no vision. There are a few spiritual “extremists” or spiritually normal people who devote themselves “entirely to the Lord”, to use Paul’s phrase. He says they are freer. “I should like you to be free of anxieties.” Don't resist, fully embrace the glory of Christ!

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