There is a daily prayer each day in the paper. One day, this was the prayer:
" Lord, each day let us look for and find good news to give to others we meet, so we may help spread your love and light to those around us. Amen"
It was later in the day when I began to read the scriptures for this weekend's Liturgy. The following is from the first reading from The Book of Wisdom. "You have mercy on all, because You can do all things; and you overlook the sins of men that they may repent. For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it ; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable Spirit is in all things!
You rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord."
Now that is real good news. It is such good news, that it can really stop us in our tracks. God love all that He has made. Yes, there is nothing that God has made that his love does not maintain in existence. If it exists, it is loved, all the time. God's love is permanent, and does not waiver. Whereas the love we experience and express is all over the place. It runs hot and cold. Lukewarm, however, is the killer. Jesus has a warning for the lukewarm. Our God hates nothing that he has made. Now that is an eye opener for those individuals who use God as a weapon to bring impart their own guilt, and shame on to those they have difficulty with. How often God is used as a weapon for evil, when all there exists in God is infinite understanding, mercy and compassion. How we see others treat others reveals to us a great deal about themselves. They are not seeing the person as that person is, they are seeing that person as they see themselves. Nobody, but nobody, can see us as we really, even we ourselves cannot do that, only God see us as we are. Our God always, and I mean always, sees us through the lens of His love. What a terrible act of abuse it is to use the All Loving God as a weapon to further our narrow agenda, or agendas. So, when I have difficulty with someone, it is not actually with that individual, it is sadly about me, and I do not want to deal with me. Eventually, we will have to come home to who we really are, and find out all humankind dwells within each one of us.
In keeping with what Jung says, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves". All that irritates me allows me to fall into that love we are told about in that Wisdom reading.
We all have heard about those who talk the walk, and those who talk the walk. It could be said that in the first reading God, in the scriptures, is talking the walk. In the Gospel Jesus has come to walk the talk, and in doing so is calling on us, His followers, to do the same thing. Our God hates no one, but maintains us all in His love.
Jesus came and became the incarnation of that love. Was it well received? His message of acceptance was so radical it got Him killed.
His outreach was so extraordinary, His own family wanted to intervene. In today's gospel, Jesus scandalizes the self-righteous with His
acceptance, of the invitation, to eat a meal with a sinner. The word sinner was a the same as, prostitute. The tax collector, the sinners, the prostitutes, were among the groups, the ones he reached out to. Jesus pointed out that the tax collectors and prostitutes heard and accepted His word. On the other hand those who stood in judgment of ALL THREE, did not.
Our God is always, as a matter of face every second, maintains us in His love, and reaches out to us in His love. The more we find the tax collector and sinner deep within ourselves, the deeper we will fall into the love revealed to us by, LOVE INCARNATE, Jesus Christ. We will then be able to go beyond the snap judgments, and reach out in understanding and compassion. In this human encounter the mission and the ministry of Love and Incarnate will continue. Let us take the risk of expressing the desire to be able to not just talk the walk, but walk the talk. You will become what you desire. What a ride, what a journey that will be. The opening prayer has these encouraging, and hope-full words;
" May the changing moods of the human heart and the limits which our failings impose on hope never blind us to you, source of every good".
It is only through the lens of the tax collector and sinner we will eventually arrive at that place where we will find ourselves dining with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Does God have a sense of humor or what? In the last place we expect to find Him, there He is, looking up at us and His eyes and asking the question, "What took you so long?"........Pride?????