Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Free Money!

You don't have to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church for long before you start coming across phrases like "The Sacramental Economy" or the "Economy of Salvation."  What the heck is that?

The word "Economy" comes from a Greek word which means to manage your house, but the financial meaning can be a useful, although limited, analogy for understanding how salvation works.

I want you to imagine you've been given a project to do some good thing for the world.  You know, feed some poor people or build a school or restore a polluted beach. Something like that.  This is kind of like the deal with God the Father-  he created us to do good works.  He's the project manager.

But the thing is, you're saddled with all of this bad debt. You're buried in it, in fact, and there is no way that you could possibly get out of it.   You can't possibly even begin to do the work assigned to you, because you're just treading water-  and let's be honest, you're not going to make it.  So you declare bankruptcy.  In comes God the Son.  He accepts your bankruptcy claim, (confession) clears your bad debt,by paying for it himself, and gives you a fresh start.  That's what Jesus does when he redeems us from our sin.  And if you run into any more debt, he'll cancel it again-  just keep going back to Him!

So now all your debts are cancelled, you can get on with the project-  but you don't have any resources!  God the Holy Spirit steps in, and gives you an infusion of cash, in a lump sum called a sacrament.  In fact, he continues to give you these lump sums as often as necessary. This gives you what you need to continue working on your project.

Now here's where the analogy breaks down a bit... God the Father is the project director-  but he did not hire you.  You're not getting paid when you get your lump sums, you don't deserve it, you didn't earn it.  The Spirit is just giving it to you!  That's called grace, the free infusion that you need to get it done!  To fulfil what you were created to do!

Now, if there was bank that would cancel my debts and give me cash infusions whenever necessary to do awesome things... I'd totally go that bank.  That's free money.  And of course my response would be to tell everyone about that bank and invite them, sing it's praises, and I would be very grateful.  I guess if our response to God is anything other than adoration, praise and thanksgiving.... probably we don't understand how the economy of salvation is working in the first place!  Maybe we resent the project we've been assigned, and would rather just sit around.  Or maybe we aren't ready to declare bankruptcy yet-  we still think we can do it on our own, and hey, we have our pride!

But knowing that this bank is available-  let's not squander our resources.  the life that God has called us to-  of faith, hope and love- is possible because of what He has done for us.

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