Saturday, 19 January 2013

Korah's complaint

Things were all so simple back in the days of the Old Testament.  People stubbornly refused to obey God (after being given chances to do so) and things would happen; perhaps it was permanent exile for them, or perhaps their total destruction in flood, fire or the ground opening up and swallowing them.  Nothing like this happens now under the New Covenant, and I'm sure many mourn the passing of such visible retribution.

God certainly revealed His power in these mighty acts, but the mightiest thing He has done for us was to send His Son to die on the cross for our sins, bringing forth into the world a regeneration and expiation through the Resurrection and the Sacraments of the Church.  After that, there can be no more visible retributions, God has, pardoning the modern parlance "jumped the shark", He can't top that.  He speaks as ever urgently to our hearts and implores that we love Him; all of us, saint and sinner alike.

I'm actually musing about open rebellion in the Church and people who say things contrary to the teaching of the Church and our reaction to these souls.  There is many a time when we would love the ground to swallow them up, and more shame on us for that.  Has any heretic through the ages ever suffered some divine calamity for his heresy? I think not.  In some ways this "justifies" the heretic in his own reasoning.  He believes he must be OK because God hasn't struck him down.  He sees error all around him, he sees the mighty mechanism of the Church as the great whore of Babylon, and he believes himself to be the real holder of the truth.

I've cast my mind back to the revolt of Korah, Dathan and Abiram mentioned in Numbers 16.  This is what Korah said against Moses and against Aaron and the priesthood; "You have gone too far! For all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?".....There, in the wilderness we have rebellion against the priesthood, and what a "benign" thing it is that Korah says.  We are all holy, why do we need such a priesthood, God loves us all.  

Well the ground did swallow him up, but as he himself was a Levite, his incense burners were holy and they were spared. I love that detail.

Korah's complaint sounds so modern.  It is the cry that we have all heard so much since Vatican II.  It manifests itself in dodgy lay "ministries", naff liturgies, every Tom, Dick and Henrietta being allowed into the sanctuary, an erosion of the use of Confession, an erosion of the preaching of and need for personal holiness.  And still the ground doesn't swallow the new Korah's up (or their flocks).........

BUT, following the Epistle of St Jude, those who have preached Korah's error are indeed in trouble. They will be judged (Jude verse 11)

It is however timely to remember that St Jude also says, that those who do claim to be true members of the Church must "build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the Love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life".

And there is more; we can do something for the Korah's of this world, rather than just scoffing at them and wishing the "biological solution" would rid us of them. We can:

  • convince some who doubt
  • save some, by snatching them out of the fire
  • have mercy on some with fear
(read the whole Epistle of St Jude, it isn't long)
As surely if we have the Holy Spirit, and God has kept us from falling and we are without blemish, then we will be able to discern which course of action to take and we can play our part in the saving of souls rather than wanting them damned.

Then again, you could be a proper little protester and just ignore this Epistle and deny its validity....

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