Saturday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
October 17, 2020
Memorial Feast: Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (c.-+108), Patron Saint of the Church in Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa
Readings: Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 1:15-23; Psalm 8:2-3ab, 4-5, 6-7; Luke 12:8-12
'Saint Ignatius with Madonna and Child' by Lorenzo Lotto
In an odd way when I studied today’s readings, I found myself thinking of an old song
by the 1970’s band, Pink Floyd. In a song the lead singer chants, “I have become comfortably numb.” I don’t really remember what the song is about, but its image of comfortable numbness struck me. This reaction in today’s readings is not easy to explain, but it seems to have something to do with the comparison of the passage from Ephesians and Jesus’ warning in today's Gospel that sins against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. I do not presume to offer a definitive interpretation of the meaning of “sin against the Spirit,” but comfortable numbness seems to me a viable candidate.
We live in a culture that specializes in numbness. We have much, but we feel little. We are surrounded by stimulation, but are easily bored. We lack passion, but we are comfortable. In the reading from Saint Paul, his words reach our ears as if they were crossing a great distance. We hear them, but we hear them just barely because our attention is elsewhere. We are shopping, investing, and self-absorbed. In prison, Paul is shouting about the glories of Jesus, His marvelous deeds, and His great victory, and we simply yawn. We have become comfortably numb.
Friend, the Spirit has a hard time working in a heart that has no desire. I would recommend that the cure for numbness is gratitude. It may be that it is also the best way to avoid “blaspheming the Holy Spirit.”
Question of the Day: How will you avoid becoming too comfortable in your faith and fall into Satan’s trap of spiritual numbness?
Prayer: Eternal God, may Your Kingdom come also in me. Remove from my soul anything that may hinder Your Reign within me. Amen.