Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What has lain hidden from the foundation of the world?

Matthew tells us that:

"He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
‘I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden
from the foundation of the world.’" (Psalm 78:2)

I don’t know about you, but this verse gets my attention. What is being announced in these parables that had lain hidden for all those centuries? Each parable seems to lights up some aspect of the wonderful mystery that is being revealed.

Our hearts certainly desire to know all we can about God and his gifts to us. Yet, Jesus did not come so that we might know more about God. He came so that we might know God himself!

Jesus did not come only to assure us that forgiveness and healing of our consciences was possible. He came so that we might receive forgiveness and healing directly from him in the sacrament of confession or reconciliation.

Jesus did not come so that we could think about and discuss and yearn for a personal and intimate relationship with God. He came and established a kingdom in which you and I can experience personal and physical intimacy with our God weekly and even daily in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Jesus did not come so that we might know that we are created as man and woman and that we can participate in creating new human life. He wants to join with us in this creative vocation not only through the reality of our physical bodies as men and women but in his grace, his help as co-creator in carrying out this procreative vocation through the Sacrament of Marriage.

What is the secret that was hidden for all those ages?

In a way the secret is so awesome that it cannot be explained in one parable or one sermon or one bible class. In a sense it is the secret that our Pastor preaches about every Sunday.

Because God’s love for us is so boundless we never tire of learning more about it and in truth we never tire of experiencing it in our lives.

We Catholics call it a mystery. A mystery because God’s love for us keeps surprising us, we keep leaning about and experiencing it in new ways.  Paul attempts to explain God’s unconditional love for us in his letter to the Romans.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Yes God loves us when we are feeling good, when we feel close to God. But He also loves us when we are deep in sin, when we are angry with Him, when we are ignoring him. He loves us when we misunderstand Him or try to put Him in a box way too small for his God Size Love.

So how do we loose God’s love? The Catholic answer is that we cannot, its impossible to,’ loose his love’.

AH - But we can refuse it, walk away from it, turn our backs on it. Yes we can and many of us do wallow in our guilt rather than accept his loving forgiveness and healing in the sacrament of reconciliation. Yes you and I have gone weeks, months and sometimes years without accepting his invitation to dine with him in the Eucharist.

Through it all His love is constant. Many of us discover that because in our darkest moments of spiritual or physical suffering we found him there offering help to endure the pain or disappointment, help to make a hard decision, or help to run into his loving arms.

Should we be surprised that we humans can turn our backs on God? In a sense it’s the way God made us. Scripture and our faith teach that we are created in the ‘image’ of God. In what way are we an image of God?

We probably don’t know the full answer but we do know some of the answer.
One dimension in which we image God is in our freedom. As Catholics we believe that God created humans to love Him and each other. A necessary prerequisite for love is freedom.To put it another way, no one can be forced to love. Love must be chosen freely or it is not love!

The proof of freedom’s reality is that we humans can say yes or no. We can say yes or no to our boyfriend’s proposal, we can say yes or no to a job offer, and we can say yes or no to God’s love, and God wants it that way!

When we say yes to God He wants it to be true love, that is, freely chosen. He has chosen to love us for eternity but we are not God and we have to work hard to image his faithfulness.

This should not surprise us. If we are married we, or at least I, mess up almost every week. I’m so numb, I don’t listen, I’m surprised by the slammed door. We do get back on track, not so much by our own wisdom but by the pledge we make every time we pray as Jesus taught:

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

At that moment when our squabble resolves to an embrace we know that our faithful God, our partner, has given us the additional gift of imaging Him in an additional way in that moment. And it is not just in marriage but also at work or in the neighborhood.

The secret hidden for ages?
A God who will not stop loving us!

As a Catholic I know that at the very moment of my anger with my wife or a hurtful comment to a neighbor that Gods loves him or her without reservation even if I haven’t and yes, He even loves me in this moment of failure.

God is seeking you and me now, today. May we have the wisdom to turn back to Him and accept his faithful love and healing embrace.

© Copyright 2014 Joseph E. Hilber. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission of the author.

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