Daily Reflection
November 8th, 1999
Dan O'Reilly
Office of the Registrar
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Wisdom 1:1-7
Psalm 139:1-10
Luke 17:1-6

Well, my Protestant side is showing.  I had not heard of the Book of Wisdom.  Now at this point my wife would make some wise crack about my lack of wisdom.  However, my lack of wisdom not withstanding, today’s verses abound with God’s wisdom.

The psalmist praises God for the fact that He is always present.  No matter what we do, no matter where we go, God will always be with us.  “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”  What a reassuring thought that God’s hand is always on our heart.

In Luke, initially, Christ is not quite so reassuring.  Mark Twain once said “it ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.”  This is one of those parts.  This is not one of those “I’m OK, you’re OK” verses.  This is Christ saying, “I’m OK, you’re not OK, but I can make it OK.”  Christ issues a warning to his disciples, but then offers them guidance and reassurance.  Christ says that there will always be sin, but for someone who causes a child to sin “it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck.”  Yikes!  That’s pretty clear how Christ feels about those who lead children astray.  I remember reading a story here in Omaha a few years back of a father who sexually abused his 12-year-old daughter and infected her with herpes.  My initial reaction was hoping this guy does a slow, eternal burn in hell.  Not a very Christian reaction.  Christ gives us some instruction here.  Christ tells us not to let sin slide by, but if the sinner repents, we have to forgive him as many times as it takes.  A hard thing.  I remember thinking about this young girl and despairing about what would become of her.  Betrayed horribly by the person she should have been able to trust the most.  I remember thinking that it would be a miracle if this kid made it to her 18th birthday without killing herself.  Christ says, exactly.  It takes a miracle.  It takes faith.  And “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,” miracles can happen, nothing is impossible.  And this is the solution.  If this girl has Christ in her heart, if she has people who are ambassadors for Christ to hold her up, she’ll make it.  It seems so simple.  Yet if faith were a simple thing, Peter would have walked upon the water.  So how do we get the faith just to make it through life, let alone move mountains?  We get it from God’s word, from the model of Jesus Christ and from the model of Christ’s ambassadors all around us. 

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