instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A simple question

Did you get much of a homily out of Sunday's first reading?
Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.
That's full strength Old Testament prophecy, isn't it? And the tone doesn't soften in the next verse and a half:
And you will gambol like calves out of the stall and tread down the wicked;
They will become ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day I take action, says the LORD of hosts.
In context, it's part of the LORD's answer to the Israelites who said:
"It is vain to serve God, and what do we profit by keeping his command, and going about in penitential dress in awe of the LORD of hosts? Rather must we call the proud blessed; for indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity."
The day that is coming is one of punity, for sure.

What strikes me about the reading, though, is that both the wicked and the just experience the same thing: the rising of the sun of justice, blazing like an oven, with its healing rays (or "with healing in his wings," if you prefer the KJV). The difference in the effect of the dawning of this day -- joy or sorrow -- depends entirely on whether a person fears the LORD.

This is a Scriptural hint of the Divine Simplicity*. God really isn't all that complicated. He merely Is.

It's humans who make simple things complex, a trait that goes all the way back to Adam. "From the tree of knowledge of good and evil I shall not eat... unless the woman whom God put here with me gives me fruit from the tree!"

In the presence of the LORD, though, things return to their original simplicity. The good gambol like calves in His sunlight. As for the wicked, it's hard to become simpler than ash.

*. Yes, yes, if that's Divine Simplicity, I'd hate to see Divine Complexity! Nothing beats the classics, eh?