Why Flog a Dead Horse?
For any friendship or relationship to continue, there would be a need for both sides or all parties concerned to desire that it continue. All it takes to fall apart is for just one side or party to no longer desire it. So it makes sense that Jesus would advise his disciples to take every opportunity to bring about reconciliation when division arises in the community of the church. But we have to remember that preserving communion is the objective. Those who are convinced it’s a lost cause would see no point to finding alternatives to bring about reconciliation. Rather, they would be just as willing to end the friendship or relationship than flog a dead horse.
The prophet Ezekiel’s vision of God’s presence leaving the temple is meant to justify Israel’s defeat at the hands of the Babylonians. But in reality God desires to be with his people. That was the reason for building the temple to begin with. But because Israel had already broken her covenant with God in many ways, by worshiping idols and disobeying the tenets of the Law, they had already effectively broken communion with God. God’s leaving the temple did not break what Israel had already broken. It is a sad reality that when we experience any separation from God, it is not something that God brought about. Rather, our selfishness and sin initiated the break. Even God cannot force us to remain in communion with him if is not something we also desire.
So in the community of the church, divisions will arise because individuals and groups will want to assert their being right rather than exhaust every opportunity to preserve communion. When communion with each other is no longer the top priority, it is likely because communion with God has already been broken. If we call on God to be a witness and a partner in our communion with one another, reconciliation and charity will always be useful tools to that end. When we decide to give up, it is because reconciliation and charity no longer make sense. Nor does flogging a dead horse.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Donna Haney.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020