23 March 2018
Soteriology is a branch of theology that addresses the question ‘How are we saved?’ The Church teaches that only faith in Jesus Christ opens up the possibility of salvation “there is no other name by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12). From at least the time of Dante’s Divine Comedy in the 14th Century, Christians have asked: “But what about the person who has never heard of Jesus and yet seeks to follow God as best as she or he knows how?” The issue was addressed in the Second Vatican Council and the Church leaves open at least the possibility of salvation for those in ‘Invincible Ignorance’– who through no fault of their own do not know of Christ.
Today the Gospel addresses not Invincible Ignorance but Invincible Arrogance – those who absolutely refuse to accept the truth of who Jesus is. Our Lord uses reason, scripture and his working miracles as evidence that He is sent by the Father. His debaters don’t deny that He had performed miracles, but nothing will suffice. They live in a closed circle. Shortly Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead which will trigger the sequence of events leading to Golgotha.
If we believe in Christ and follow Him, we can be assured that ultimately, we will be with Jesus in eternal joy. However, we still may have areas in our lives where we are invincibly arrogant. Perhaps I deny the truth that a pattern of our behaviour is sinful or I am refuse to obey God in some matter.
Lent is given to us by the Church to be a time when we again walk the Via Dolorosa with Christ. As we watch Him being stripped of dignity then life itself may we be open to being stripped of the Invincible Ignorances of our lives.
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