Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Now and then in his writings, Pope Benedict would like to point out that there really were not “Ages of Faith” in the sense we might like to think. Oh certainly there were ages when religious symbolism and language were all pervasive, and when religious practice and apparent devotion were at the least social convention: but his point was that faith has always been a personal choice, regardless of the cultural setting or supports to faith.
This underlines the reality that the world, though a good place, is also a fallen place, a place that turns away from God. And thus, it is a world in which God is always a stranger. It is perhaps easier to put up symbols of God than to actually deal with someone who is filled with the Spirit of God: at least that was the case with the Son of God, who was rejected by people who spoke of God all the time. Of this, He said: “no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
To say “Yes” to God is, in some fundamental sense to say “no” to the world. Sooner or later – in our individual or communal lives – this will make itself known. It is a decision we must make, to accept or reject the God who calls us out of our “native places” into the place of faith in which we encounter, and serve, that God who is the source of all places, above them, other than them. The God who calls out of the city of man, as He called Abram and Moses, as He called Jesus out of Nazareth, and calls you and me out of “the secular city.”