Through Faith, We Can Have Contact With the Living God, by Stephen Beale

States Encouraged to Take a Stand for Abortion Survivors, by Charlie Butts
August 26, 2019
Catholic Schools Must Restore America’s Faith in the Real Presence, by Patrick J. Reilly
August 26, 2019

By Stephen Beale, Catholic Exchange, August 26, 2019

Stephen BealeHebrews 12—the text for next Sunday’s Mass readings—employs extraordinary imagery to describe our ability, as Christians, to have contact with the living God.

Here is the text as it will be read at Mass:

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel (Hebrews: 12:18-19, 22-24A).

Although the author of the text claims that God is approachable, there is an implicit suggestion that under normal human circumstances He should not be.

Consider the contrast the author is making. On the one hand, there is a ‘blazing fire and gloomy darkness,’ a ‘storm and a trumpet blast,’ and words so terrifying that those hearing them asked that the speaker cease. On the other there is: the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, ‘countless angels in festal gathering,’ God the judge, the assembly the saints, and Jesus with His Precious Blood.

Surely the items in the second list are more fearsome in the first? Most notably there is God Himself, who, if fire and the gloomy darkness—a term for the hell of the damned—are unapproachable, surely should be even more inaccessible. And yet He is ‘touchable.’ ….