REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
October 17, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” LK. 12:8-10
The movement of the Spirit encourages us in our relationship with God. If we seek to know God, we will rightly revere him. With the eyes of faith, we can see the glorious truths of our faith, especially Jesus’ resurrection. As disciples, we should be open to the promptings of the Spirit to defend our faith. If we falter, such as by denying Christ, we must ask for and accept His forgiveness.
Jesus continue to warn his followers that whoever denies him will be denied before the angels of God. He also tells them that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
The term blasphemy may be defined as anything from defiant irreverence to intentional sacrilegious acts. It can mean acts like cursing God or willfully degrading things relating to God. It can also be attributing some evil to God or denying Him some good that should be attributed to Him. Yet we believe that God is love and forgiveness and He will forgive us even if we had committed the most heinous sin.
So, what did Jesus mean when He said that “he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven”? The purpose of this phrase was to strengthen the disciples in the face of persecution and to deter them from falling into apostasy (giving up the faith) out of cowardice or doubt.
It was also meant as an admonition – a sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible. So, in other words, it is not whether God will forgive; it is a question of whether we want to repent or not. Because along with repentance is also the trust in God’s love and mercy and forgiveness. To be able to declare that is to stand before others and witness to God and all that He has done for us.
One of the greatest examples of those who acknowledge Jesus before others is that of the martyrs. One martyr after another throughout history gave witness to their love of God by holding firm to their faith despite persecution and death.
Think about your own life in the light of the Gospel passage from today. Do you freely, openly and fully acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and God before others? You do not have to go around being an “in-your-face” sort of Christian. But you do have to easily, freely, transparently and completely allow your faith and love of God shine forth, especially when it’s uncomfortable and difficult. Do you hesitate in doing this? Most likely you do. Most likely all Christians do.
Reflect, today, upon whether you acknowledge Jesus as Lord or blasphemy, reflect on whether you are only inspired by the martyrs or if you actually imitate them. If it’s the former, pray that their inspiring witness effects a powerful change in your life.
Lord, thank You for the witness of the great saints, especially the martyrs. May their witness enable me to live a life of holy faith in imitation of each one of them. I choose You, dear Lord, and acknowledge You, this day, before the world and above all else. Give me the grace to live this witness with courage. Jesus, I trust in You.