I spent a lot of time in airports a few days ago and had time to observe people. There was the Jamaican guy flirting with the waitress, the Chinese family with Chinese passports bantering back and forth, the maintenance man approaching me with a huge smile praising my beard and proudly showing off his attempt to grow one while complaining of the few gray strands, and finally the young Italian couple from Naples who spoke no English with whom I struck up a delightful conversation in Italian.
The Office of Readings for that day had left me thinking of the phrase “The Salvation of the Just.” As I observed these people, and others, I saw what appeared to be humanity at its best on a daily basis but I wondered if humanity, even in its natural goodness, is sufficient to enable one to see God, one day, face to face. Said differently, is living a life of natural virtue, without acceptance of the Gospel, adequate for heaven? Is living a moral life without a decisioned adherence to Jesus and the Church “good enough?”
There are many in today’s world who would say yes. Many would marginalize Christian faith and praxis as extraeneous and only one of many roads to paradise. Those who do include the so called “liberals” who embrace a false notion of ecumenism as well as the “conservatives” who seem to not move beyond a moralism that binds and restricts.
I am left with this: God’s grace is at work. We must acknowledge His freedom. He draws to himself whomever He wishes. Those of us who have heard the Gospel better pay attention and say “yes” to it for we are held to it. To those who have not heard we will be held accountable for we are to give witness. Finally, humanity in its purity is celebratory and of notabile dignity.
The Salvation of the Just comes through the Church and her proclamation of the Gospel. May we give faithful witness to it.