MARCH 22-23, 2019
4:30 PM (SAT), 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM ORDINARY FORM (ENGLISH) MASSES
Metaphysics, according to Aristotle, deals with ontology and first principles. Ontology is the philosophy of “being,” while the firmest of Aristotle’s first principles is non-contradiction. Non-contradiction states that “opposite assertions cannot [both] be true at the same time” – meaning that something either “is” something, or “isn’t” something … but that it cannot somehow “be” and “not be” at the same time.
The term Metaphysics can either mean a philosophy that goes beyond the physical world … or else, more simply, the philosophy that Aristotle wrote after his works on the physical world.
As a “first principle” the Principle of Non-contradiction cannot be derived from other principles, and stands on its own.
Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent.
In the First Reading from the third chapter of the Book of Exodus, we hear of Moses and the burning bush. When Moses asks God for His name, he is told:
I am Who am.Which at first glance sounds like a conundrum or a riddle or a puzzle. But on further reflection expresses that God’s existence is being – or in other wods, His ontology is to be.
God exists without cause. That is, nobody made God. And He has existed for all eternity – before time, and will continue to exist after time.
God is infinite and eternal, while everything else we know is finite – limited in space and time; and mortal – that is subject to death or eventual destruction.
And so, for God to tell Moses that His name is “I am Who am,” is actually a pretty deep proposition.
St. Paul in chapter 10 of his First Letter to the Corinthians, takes us eleven chapters further along in the Book of Exodus. Paul is talking about the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites. He compares that miraculous event to baptism, and speaks as well about the manna – the miraculous bread … and the water that miraculously came from the rock.
Yet despite miracle after miracle that the Israelites experienced in the desert – Paul reminds us – some rebelled; but in the end, they all died.
We are, however, left hanging. Paul is giving a warning to the people of Corinth – and in reading this we, too should be warned. But we are missing the final line of this section.
That last verse is omitted in todays reading. It goes on to tell us:
God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength;but with the trial he will also provide a way out,so that you may be able to bear it.And this is the difference between the interactions between God and humanity in the Old and New Testament.
The baptism of crossing the Red Sea provided an escape from slavery in Egypt; while our Baptism not only frees us from Original Sin, but also brings us into a real and actual spiritual relationship with the Most Holy Trinity. We are incorporated into Christ, and as such, become members of Christ; making us children of God; and temples of the Holy Spirit.
While the Israelites saw and experience God’s marvels – as an outward manifestation – they did not share in His grace. They did not share the Divine life of God as Christians do – through sanctifying grace and the power of the Holy Spirit within them.
Our Lord, in St. Luke’s Gospel, provides an additional warning. First Jesus admonishes us not to delay in turning toward God … in accepting the grace of new life in Him; and then, through a parable teaches that we should always seek to be fruitful members in the Kingdom.
Almost three weeks ago, on Ash Wednesday, we heard:
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
And so, as we approach this altar to receive the Sacred Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ – let us immerse ourselves in the Life of God which we have received in Baptism … now! Let us turn toward God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength … now! Let us allow His sanctifying and saving grace to penetrate to the depths of our being … ! Let us utilize the supernatural gifts of our own Baptism – Faith, Hope, and Love – so that knowing that God is God and we are not, we might go forth to manifest His glory in our lives.