Today's responsorial psalm is a nice way of summing up the theme of all three readings. God has freely chosen us, reminding us of His great love for us and breaking in again and again throughout our salvation history.
For us, I fear God seems quite distant at times doesn't He? We wonder where God is when madmen crash planes into buildings or when a child gets abused, especially by clergy, or when a young person dies too young in a car crash. Where the heck is God and why does God seem to be ignoring the plight of the same people He has supposedly chosen to be his own?
We sometimes forget that while God gives us the freedom to choose to love God and others we sometimes ignore that choice ourselves don't we? I know I choose options contrary to love often. I act grumpy when my wife asks me a favor and I feel like being a couch potato. I don't hear the cry of the poor on our city streets or in foreign lands. I think I know better than God does when I choose my own conveniences over what God might want for my life. In short, it's not as easy for me to love God, by keeping His commandments than it has been for God to love us.
Sin is that very consequence of ignoring God's love and it turns everything upside down. It's our choice to sin and it's God's choice to continue to forgive us, knowing our own imperfections and having the courage to give us that gift of free will, that gift to ignore the God who loved us into life itself and who unabashedly forgives us each and every time we come before him, guilty, broken and forgetful of how much God has loved us.
Jesus tells his disciples that He will always be with them in today's gospel. That message is also for us. That while God seems distant, God indeed continues to choose us, continues to love us beyond measure, even when we don't always choose to love God or anyone else and are caught up in our own egos and selfishness.
The atheists laugh at us for believing in this kind of a God. They would have us believe that we are merely "cosmic accidents" floating on a sea of meaninglessness until the end of our lives when we are snuffed out and all the events of our lives fade into the abyss and all the love we have shared is for naught. Life is meaningless--there is nothing beyond this life, this world, our empty actions. The atheists tell us that religion--this God of ours is merely a trick that our mind tells us to allow us to deal with the truth of meaninglessness. We convince ourselves that life has meaning by inventing this God.
But don't buy it.
For the Christian believes that God has broken into our world in a physical tangible way. Jesus is alive and has defeated not just death but the meaninglessness of the world. It is Jesus who reminds us not only that God has chosen us--who are made in the image and likeness of God--for Himself. God chooses to live our life and enter into our death,not out of revenge or because of some need for sacrificial blood...but because of love. And it is that love, that perfect love that we witness in Jesus and it too, turns the world back around--from sin and death into new life.
We forget that we need God, that without God we are merely what the atheists want us to believe. Accidents, lives without meaning. God's choice of bringing us into salvation gives us our transcendence our goal-oriented purpose of returning to God by knowing God's gift of forgiveness and by offering that same forgiveness to others. Of knowing God's love for us and thereby loving others in return and being mindful of all of this.
That's faith. Having the love for others when you very well don't feel like loving--when it's easier to not love and to be caught up in your own ego. When we don't choose people to be own own in racism, genocide, or hate. When we separate from our families over petty squabbles. When we place our need for control over letting go of that need in order to love another.
I'm often reminded of this by my wife, in our marriage because she knows that I am far from perfect and yet, each and every day she chooses me. She chooses me to be her own. And I too, know her imperfections all too well and yet I too choose her. In our imperfect marriage, we strive to remind each other that we need to continue to choose one another, to love even when it's hard and even when one of us doesn't live up to our ideals. How much more will God who is perfect, love all of us?
Even when we turn our backs on God and choose another God: like money, fame, sex, drugs, booze, or simply plain old convenience. Because most often we don't choose God to be our own.
We choose ourselves and our own egos. We know what's good for us. Who needs God?
Today, let us consider God's love. God's free gift of grace and of forgiveness that allows us to start over each and every time. For it is there that we see God's love has no boundaries and it is there that we also see that eternal life is there for us if we merely choose to follow Christ.
Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 4/25
9 hours ago