The Hole

A Moment before the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday’s first two readings are all about choices. Hard choices. The kind of choices we like to avoid. Until we can’t.

Which lays the groundwork for what’s coming in the Gospel.

This Sunday’s Gospel is the end of a series of Sunday Gospels, known as the bread of life discourse. Where Jesus calls Himself the bread of life. 

Then explains what He means. By being completely literal.

This Sunday is the fallout from that. We see the reaction to Jesus’ explanation. And the choices that people make.

Handling God on God’s terms is never easy.

At least not for me. Because it involves way too much getting over myself for me to ever be comfortable with it.

So I understand the impulse. I get why people would want to leave.

The problem with leaving is that getting away from God still leaves us with a God-shaped hole. And an undeniable drive to fill it with something. You and I are going to fill that hole with something. We can’t avoid it. It’s just how we’re made.

It’s a choice that none of us can avoid. We’re going to fill the hole with God. Or with a God-substitute.

Our God-substitute may seem harmless at first. But when we let it fill the place in us that was made only for the One who loves us best, what started off benign and controllable will eventually become corrosive and uncontrollable.

Because, if it’s anything other than God, we’re forcing that thing to do something it was never meant to do. Left unchecked, the consequences of forcing a God-substitute into that hole will do more harm to us (and to those closest to us) than we can ever imagine.

The choice between God or a God-substitute will always be, in the end, a choice between something difficult and self-harm.

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