Daily Reflection
November 8th, 2001
John O'Keefe
Theology Department
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Romans 14:7-12
Psalms 27:1-4, 13-14
Luke 15:1-10

Whenever one reads these particular verses from Paul it is tempting to leap right away into an Augustinian reflection on the pervasiveness of sin and the universal need for grace.  I am so tempted but I will defer, at least for a moment.  Instead I would like to draw wisdom from my seven-year-old son.

Recently he has come up with a new expression.  When asked a question for which the answer is an obvious “yes,” he will smirk, cock his head, and say “cha.”  He will say this with a kind of feigned annoyance that wonders why anyone would ask such a lame question.  As far as I can tell, “cha” is an invention of second grade boys at St. Pius X school.  It appears to be a conflation of “ahh, yeah,” slurred together for maximum effect.  I believe it is a close cousin to “duh!”  The results are quite humorous.

So what does this have to do with today’s reading?   It’s funny, but as I was reflecting on the gospel, when I came to the line “this man welcome sinner and eats with them,” I imagined Jesus responding “cha.”  The story of the lost sheep and the lost silver piece merely confirm the obvious.  Yes, of course God love sinners and wants them back.  “Cha.”

Now what about Paul and what about Augustine?  Both would remind us that our lives are totally at the mercy of God.  We may try to gain control, but somehow it always eludes us.  Somehow the disordered world of human rebellion against God intrudes on our stability.  So said Paul and so said Augustine.  “That is why Christ died and came to life again.” I’m pretty sure that if I pointed this fact out to my son he would probably assume that diffident second grade posture and say “cha.”  

Thank God for children when we need to see the obvious.

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