Triumph of The Cross (Note & Bulletin)

For my “Long Experiment” as a Jesuit Novice, I was sent to work on a Native Reserve. My main assignment was teaching religion classes in the local elementary school. At the school I became friends with one of the teachers who had left the church to become “Born Again.” He was a wonderful young man and a devout Christian. While I enjoyed our conversations, there was one topic that always left me curious and confused. It had to do with ideas about the judgment of God. He believed that God’s judgment would be of great severity. Almost with excitement, he would speak of the sinful world and his expectation that most people would soon suffer the wrath of God for their wrongdoing. What left me curious and confused is the human inclination to grasp on to this image of Divine harshness and a sort of cheapness with regard to God’s love for his children. We can hear this story of this young man and his ideas of the judgment of God and too quickly dismiss them as misguided, or just flat out wrong. And yet, despite the disagreement of our minds with the notions of God’s harshness or any cheapness of his love, I often think that our hearts tell a different story. We do have fears, perhaps not so much with thoughts of the final Judgment of God, but with God’s smaller judgments upon our lives and hearts. In our hearts, we may painfully question: God, are you pleased with me? God, are you embarrassed by me? God, do you want me? Despite how understandable and relatable these and similar questions may be to us, it is hard for us to find a justification for them in our Readings of this Sunday.

In the Book of Numbers we hear the story of how the people of Israel, though they had been liberated from slavery in Egypt, turned on God. When things had gotten difficult, when their expectations were not met, they asked why God had brought them to a new place. Gratitude began to disappear from their hearts. Once the poisonous snakes had appeared, God intervened to protect and care for them. Their lack of gratitude did not convince God to forsake them; rather God forgave them and offered life. Saint Paul describes what God relinquished in becoming human. In Jesus Christ, God put down his glory and became a servant to all. God put down his power and became obedient “to the point of death – even death on a cross.” And in the Gospel, we hear words of such hope: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Within our hearts we may have fears that we are not pleasing to God, that God is embarrassed by us or that God does not want us. And yet, this Sunday we hear different words. We are forgiven! We are so loved that the all-powerful God empties himself and becomes poor and weak! We are not condemned, but are offered eternal life and friendship with God! As we begin to realize and accept the love of God into our hearts, as we begin to know that we are always loved no matter what, we begin to walk in the freedom and beauty of eternal life with God. The gift is offered to our hearts. Let’s allow it to be welcomed, received and made our own.

God bless and take care!
AttachmentSize
Weekly Parish Bulletin270.73 KB

Upcoming Events