Saved – But From What
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
Ascension Sunday (7th Sunday of Easter)
Some time ago several students and I were talking about religion. “I just don’t see the need,” one of them said, “what’s the point?” Another student listed several reasons for being religious but all left the questioner unimpressed. Finally she turned to me, “What do you think? Church and religion never meant anything to me. It’s not bad; just pointless. Am I missing something?” Not only the questioner but the students from our parish seemed surprised when I said I didn’t know.
Immediately someone said, “You’re missing out on salvation: you’re risking Hell.” “Tell her,” he told me.
“You want me to convince her that she has a soul so that I can convince her that her soul is destined for Hell which will make her want to be religious so that she won’t have to be afraid of eternal damnation?” Our Church teaches that even if someone truly sees no reason for God or the Church but puts themselves on the line for justice and love, they’re united with God and destined for heaven. What, exactly, does she need saving from?”
“Well, I always thought being religious was about saving our souls. If you can go to heaven just by being a good person who tries hard even though you don’t know about God or souls or Hell or all the rest, I don’t know what religion’s all about. Maybe we’re better off without it. “
“Good point. Knowing that God doesn’t write people off for honest beliefs or opinions held with integrity raises the question of what salvation is all about. It’s easy to get so used to words that we don’t question their meaning. We can hear ideas so often that we just assume they make sense whether we see the sense or not. What is there in our real lives that actually needs saving – needs freeing?”
An animated discussion broke out at that point but I wasn’t going to be part of it that night. Eleven p.m. may be pizza time for college students but it’s bedtime for me!