“If you have an ear to hear…..” An odd saying, that. As a young boy, teenager I think, I came across this phrase several times while reading the Holy Bible. The Book of Revelations, most particularly, if I recollect correctly. And I remember very vividly wondering “What does that mean? Ear to hear? Everyone has ears….”
Christ himself used the phrase “If you have an ear to hear…” (normally I capitalize referring pronouns like “Himself” when referring to Christ out of respect for him. This letter is to people of all faiths – some whom I do not wish to insult. So I will not do that here. Your faith is far more important to you than is mine. And I am not here to change your belief. Nor would I wish to.)
But more to the point, “ear to hear” is a phrase meaning spiritually able to hear…. And though it took a long time for me to reach some sort of agreeable understanding on that, life since then has confirmed it – and I still believe Christ, his apostles, and John – the author of the book of Revelations, were all referring to being able to spiritually hear when using the phrase.
But then, what is “being able to spiritually hear?” Deafness is a physical inability to send sound impulses to the brain – where they can be ingested into our thoughts. But other things can block our ears from getting messages to our thought process. The most notable of those is predisposition. Many religions tell us that we must do this or we must do that in order to become holy – or what they refer to as becoming “saved.” And in the process they teach their followers to disregard any teaching other than their own. And it becomes second nature for these people to dismiss things that are not directly in line with what their religion has taught them. It is the very definition of brain washing – but using that term devours any possibility of truly reaching these people at all.
Anyway, that example explains what Christ and others were saying when they used the phrase – “If you have ears to hear” – prefacing whatever advice they were about to dole out. Hardening of the heart is another example of how we can lose the spiritual ability to hear. Hardening the heart is a numbness to the Holy Spirit’s advice due to continually ignoring him. Eventually he just fades away. It’s probably important to note here that the only truly damnable offense remarked in the New Testament is ignoring, or defiling, the Holy Spirit.
Today I just want to stress that more people have died and/or been murdered in the name of God than for any other reason… Pick any or all non-religious wars and total the dead. It will be less than the number of people killed in the name of God.
And what does it mean to “kill in the name of God?” Isn’t that just a tad ironic? An oxymoron of the highest degree? Especially considering God has told us very specifically NOT to kill? When something as blatant as that oxymoron comes along and you or I are/am incapable of seeing it – then we have just discovered the true meaning of the phrase “an ear to hear…..” Evil – or Satan – whatever – is so efficient at fooling us that we can reach the point where we don’t even see that incredible level of irony.
The Pope recently came out and told the world that all people were given salvation – all people. Not just Christians. Not just Jews. Not just Muslims…… No. All people have been given salvation. And that is so important not only in terms of “who” has been saved by Christ – but “how” as well. There is nothing we can do in this life in order to “become” saved. We are already saved. The only thing we are capable of doing is losing salvation.
So the question is not how to become saved. The question is “What should I avoid doing so that I will not lose my salvation?” The obvious answer is to not harden your heart. Do not block your mind from receiving the advice of the Holy Spirit – that wonderful counsel God promised to us so very long ago in the Old Testament, and the very same one that Christ delivered to each of us through his sacrifice.
Of course all of this has been part of the Catechism for as long as I have been alive. Yet no previous Popes brought this point to light. So it’s normal to wonder why this Pope decided it is important enough now, at this point in history, to mention it globally. To understand his intention it is important to understand that previous Pope’s didn’t mention this because it can be a stumbling block for certain sects in Christian circles. It is perhaps insensitive to tell these Christians they are somehow wrong or have falsely come to the belief that we must “accept the lord Christ as savior” in order to be saved. As already said Christ secured salvation for all men. We don’t need to obtain it. So obviously that belief about doing this, believing that, or saying the other in order to obtain salvation is just simply wrong. Yet telling this to these Christians, who are by all rights just as loving as anyone else – and whose intentions are certainly above reproach – could lead to their disenchantment – could be seen – and most likely will be seen – as an insult to their beliefs, in all likelihood an insult to their parents and other ancestral beliefs – handed down from generation to generation and in the most familial and loving way possible. What a monumental insult it is to them to say something directly contradictory to their beliefs? To say that one does not need to be Christian to be saved? That one does not need to utter the word Christ – nor even need to have ever even heard the word “Jesus” or “Christ” in order to be saved?
So given the powerful nature of that insult, the sheer size of the stumbling block we are throwing in front of our brethren Christians – why has the Pope concluded that right now is the time to express this formerly quasi-hidden belief to the world?
Because of an “ear to hear.” It is as simple as that. For decades and centuries we have avoided throwing that stumbling block, wishing not to put insults on our brethren, wishing not to give them reasons to exercise hatred for us or anyone – But the Pope is correct in his decision. The time has come for it to be said. And for this reason only:
Whether intended or not – the message those Christians carry to the Middle-East are that the people there are heathens and will never receive salvation until they drop their heathen-ancestral beliefs – those same family beliefs passed down through love and generation to generation – father to son – for thousands of years…. These Christians tell the Muslim community that they must adopt Christian beliefs to be saved, to disregard their parents and other ancestors, to disregard their rich cultural history, and to adopt their own Christian beliefs.
So the Pope is addressed with a conundrum. Which is the bigger stumbling block? That which is thrown in front of Muslims – who have extremists whom we know are willing to kill and wreak havoc around the world – killing innocent people any and everywhere for being insulted? Or the stumbling block thrown in front of these Christians, who believe such things? Obviously the Pope made the right choice. We are called upon to love one another. That is our only task here. It is the commandment above all others. “Love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart and mind. And love one another. Do these things and you will receive eternal life.” The entire rest of the Catechism and Bible is just fodder – all of it pointing directly to that one single statement made by Jesus Christ. Luke 10:27-28
Another thing Christ said is “Children, follow the faith of your fathers.” But he did not say “Kneel to me, bow down to me, praise me and praise my name, and forever keep me as you lord and savior.” No he did not say that. Anywhere in the Bible. That’s one of those ironic things, another oxymoron that is so entirely huge as to baffle the mind that people can not see it. Here is the single most selfless human who has ever been born on this earth, Jesus Christ, the man who was tortured and died on the cross for his father, who told him it was necessary for him to do that in order to save our wretched souls. And so we are now supposed to turn that around and believe that Jesus is so vain and beguiled that he “demands” us to praise him? No friends. That is another oxymoron. That is purely the work of evil, a cunning, cunning devil. That is not the Jesus Christ who saved me. And the Pope knows that.
Do these Christians intend to imply that Muslims are heathens? Of course not. Their intentions are absolutely honorable. They truly believe they are helping the Muslims. But are the Muslims being insulted, given fuel for hatred by these actions and beliefs? Obviously. The time has come for correction. The Pope has done it rightfully and elegantly as I could ever imagine. And also with the love he has been given the responsibility to lead with as example.
The whole thing boils down to another belief hidden in the catechism, that man does not need to be led by any other man to see or know about God. A few of the last words of the Catholic Old Testament: “And I will send an advocate to you, and he will write my laws upon your hearts and minds. And you will not need any other man, or kin, to tell you ‘Here, this is how you come to know the lord.’ For you will already know me.” Jeremiah 31:33-34 and others
Religion, like any other of man’s endeavors – is subject to attack and manipulation by evil. I hate religion, just as Christ hated the Sadducees and Pharisees, hypocrites who commanded similar untruths and false laws in his day. Listen to what God tells you. Listen to what Christ tells you. You only need to listen to you heart and mind. That is where he lives. In your temple.