Welcome back to all the folks who gave up the internet for Lent!
We've had a lovely Easter capped off by the always wonderful plethora of Bible movies. Deviled eggs and " Greatest Story Ever Told" make for a great relaxing Easter evening. Although, I must admit, that at some point during the film, perhaps when both Sal Mineo and Shelley Winters are cured by Jesus within minutes of each other, the movie begins to feel like a Bible version of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" in terms of cameo star power. Ah well, a glorious movie, none the less.
Now to catch up on some questions:
Something I read today suggested Jesus didn't try and communicate with Herod when presented to him as he knew that grace would not reach him as he lead such a sinful life. It also suggested that He prayed for and agonized over Judas. As anything is possible with God I don't understand why both of these men could not have had their hearts changed. If it's a case of them having a role to play in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem fair that they were not given the opportunity to change while we are. If it's a case of having free will and having to want to change and accept graces is there any point in praying for people who have no intention of changing to change? Sorry, I find it all very confusing.
To begin with, both men always had the opportunity to change. They had free will. No one took anything away from them. The miracles of Jesus had nothing to do, ever, with Jesus changing someone's mind through His power as the Son of God.
Take Sal Mineo's miracle moment in "The Greatest Story Ever Told". He is lame (meaning his feet are all twisted, not his acting ability). When Jesus tells Sal to arise and walk, Sal responds that there must me something the matter with Jesus, since Sal's affliction is so obvious. Jesus tells him to walk anyhow, saying to Sal, more or less, "Just do it." With each step, Sal Mineo's leg untwists a little more until he is walking, cured of his affliction.
Sal Mineo: You cured me!
Jesus: Your faith cured you.
God does not change your heart for you. You have to do that yourself. Herod would have had to to that himself. Judas would have had to do that himself. We pray for grace, for God to work within us or others, but everyone will always have free will to turn from that grace.
As for the Great Scheme of Things....that's Sacred Mystery territory. If you are a regular reader you'll know what I mean by that. The Church defines a Sacred Mystery as that which we are not even meant to understand, God's wisdom that is beyond our capacity as humans to ever understand. I define it to mean, "Just let it go."
Sacred Mystery=Catholic for "just let it go."
Here's an example: Mary had free will. She could have said no when asked to be the Mother of Jesus. We all know she didn't, but she could have. Yet, Mary was born without Original Sin on her soul (the Immaculate Conception) because God knew she would be the Mother of Jesus, though she could have said no, He knew she wouldn't, but she still could have, but He knew she wouldn't, but....
Without free will, we are indeed role players, pre-programmed robots, in the Great Scheme of Things. How that all works along with God's omnipotent knowledge....
I'll bet this didn't help you much. Just let it go. I'll admit that I am always very happy to do this. There is so much in this world which we must understand. Math, what causes obesity, what things infuriate or calm the people with whom we share oxygen, street signs that are just some kind of vague symbol, which way to turn the car wheels when parking on a hill, how long the milk will stay fresh if you leave it on the counter, what happens if you mix bleach and ammonia, why you should never mention the Korean War to Grandpa Bill, how come it's better to live a life of compassion and forgiveness as opposed to one of judgement and competition, what Jesus meant when he said, "Consider the lilies"...
It's a relief that there are things that I am not expected to understand. I am happy to leave them to God.