Can we even begin to fathom the gifts God has for us?
The prophet Isaiah had a clear message for the Hebrew people: they were to turn back to the Lord from whom they had estranged themselves once they went into exile. In Babylon, the Israelites had turned to false prophets; it is time for them to seek the Lord actively, and to trust in possibilities they cannot begin to imagine. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. Jesus will echo a similar message in Matthew’s gospel in the parable of the workers in the vineyard: whereas man understands justice as compensatory (the longer I work, the more I earn), God’s justice is life-giving to all: What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? God deals out mercy to us not according to what we understand or merit, but according to the limitless bounty of his love, given freely and available to all who are open to it and who are willing to share it.
Like the disciples who heard this parable, if we want to dedicate our lives to God’s justice, we need to try to grasp that justice; we need to have an ever-growing consciousness of how we can participate in the divine effort, a deeper awareness of God’s truth, even if we don’t always completely understand it. Paul tells Philemon that he is torn between wanting to live and wanting to die in Christ, For to me life is Christ and death is gain. To serve God’s justice, we must trust in possibilities we cannot begin to imagine, knowing, as Psalm 145 assures us, that, although his greatness is unsearchable, the Lord is near to all who call upon him in truth. And thus, we must conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
God’s love is ever-present, ever ready to gather us up. Life is a gift, as long as we have an opportunity to give, to share that gift, for its value is in the sharing. So begin by recognizing the blessing that is God’s life and love in you, and share it, bringing it to bear upon others by your presence, and the grace you reveal in that presence. Perhaps such an effort can give us an intimation – an iota of understanding – of the unsearchable ways of God.
This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source: Wordle