13th Sunday of the Year Reflection
Fr John Allen Green OFM – Actions speak louder than words! Yet when God speaks God’s word, it is action; intentions that become reality; God said …and so it was …and it was Good …and so IT IS..and IT IS GOOD!
It is Good because it is created out of love, the very essence of God’s nature, and nature can only give birth to its own quality, creative love.
From the Book of Wisdom we read today that out of this creative love, God wants, God desires life, not death; That God created us to be eternal, in God’s image; created out of love for love.
The Psalm repeats the theme of God wanting life; raising up the dead from their graves; changing our grief to joyful dancing and praise.
This motif reaches its culmination in the Gospel of Mark; the touch of Jesus the Christ who is God made visible to us, bringing healing to the sick and raising the dead to life.
God’s Word of creative love is incarnated in the man Jesus of Nazareth to become for us the Christ, God immersed in matter and time; an everyday God with us. From this “scandal of the incarnation”, we come to learn much about ourselves and about God.
By his works and actions, Jesus confirms for us the nature of God as creative love; compassion, mercy, forgiveness, healing and life. The image of a God whom I must appease to avoid the terror of history is forever demolished.
Jesus the Christ, in himself, is the very good news of the Gospel, universal and cosmic – that creative love is the power of the universe; this is the manifested, demonstrated attested power of forgiveness, healing and life that overcomes divisions and death.
Indeed it is the nature of God’s love that God must share this life and love with creation. The God who could not be looked upon without death resulting, is now the visible source of life instead.
Jesus the Christ, in himself, is the very blueprint in whose image each one of us has been made; the very blueprint for what each one of us is to become; resurrected and eternal. This reveals for us our vocation as co-creators with Christ and our destiny in eternity.
We might however doubt and question these assertions and so wonder along with the philosophers: so what’s gone wrong? Everywhere around us we see “nature, tooth and claw, bloody and cruel!”
Our world, the home of history and matter created for us seems to be on the brink of disaster, filled with death and destruction.
Such a question appears valid to us if we consider the history of humanity, as a species infecting creation, sick and disabled and always in the hopeless process of seeking to recover a lost innocence and a squandered past golden age.
I am sure that each of us can relate a story of some distant relative, an aunt or an uncle who would tell the same tale of impending doom and woe at every family gathering; bemoaning the current generation with stories that always began, “when I was…”; or perhaps even setting whole generations in opposition, “when we were….”.
In the dismal reflection of such consciousness, we can indeed create for ourselves a dingy future so that instead of the gratitude that comes with seeing grace as gift, our hearts become hardened seeing grace as necessary penalty that must administered because of the actions of others.
This is the resentment that throttles love and sets up opposition groups, purity codes and creates scapegoats so that blame may always be apportioned out there away from me.
It’s All About Grace and Gratitude
Instead of love being creative, life-giving, demonstrable, effusive, gushing from the wells of the creator; it becomes instead something stilted, something I cling to; not trusting that love returns love, I cling to love as to breath; holding on as though in breathing out, there will be no next gulp of air available. Seeking to save my life, I lose it.
To keep love safe, I may even bury love like the servant with the talent, so that even the little I have is taken from me. In ecclesial circles we may be call such a “safe pair of hands” or conservative fiscal management.
The problem with all of this is that God’s creative love is also the basis of life. Where this love is replaced by anything else, life is also lost. I may try to find life through or by some other means, but this can only be illusion; without love, I have no life in me.
What is the motivation of my life? Are my words also creative; do they bring compassion, forgiveness, healing to those I meet? When last did someone encounter God’s love through me?
And perhaps most importantly, I need to ask myself if my words are also actions, affective and bringing about good. The world is filled with empty words of those who would tell me how I should do my life …there are few indeed who will walk the way with me.
Like Christ, we also are called to reflect beauty and grace as the foundation of the Good News that aligns itself with Truth, the Incarnation as God’s language; in whose very breath, we share in the ongoing exciting and vital creative process of Christifying our world and becoming Christ like.
This does not mean that I am naively optimistic and ignore the reality around me. Christ consciousness makes me always aware that I am part of Christ’s body, broken and bloodied, naked and despised, cursed and spat upon, derided and emptied.
But I am also aware of that body raised and glorified, and so with St Paul I know that because God is good, God can and does cause all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to God’s purpose. And that purpose is for each one of us to be become like the Son, Christ-like; shining like the sun.
The Lord grant you Peace!