Offers food for thought
Readings: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56; Second Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
We also affirm this central mystery in our creed, proclaimed together during each Mass. We say that we believe in one God, the Father almighty… we believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God… we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified… and in so believing, we are saying that we are created through the love of God the Father, we are restored through the grace of God the Son, and we are sustained and fortified through God the Holy Spirit. In our Christian lives, we need to deepen our relationships with each of the persons of the Trinity.
In today’s Gospel, we are reminded of the experience of the Israelites, and that we not unlike them, we distance ourselves from God. But we are also reminded that God stays close to us, through the Son. We, like Moses, come to know the Lord for who he truly is: “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
It is God’s desire that every one of us spend eternity in union with him. The Father sent the Son into the world to reveal to us that some of us had become distant and others had been completely separated, and to give us a way to be reunited. God demonstrates this definitively in the sacrifice of his Son, as it says in John’s Gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” It is the defining statement of God’s love for us. Living fully, every day of our lives, this divine union with God, is our goal. It is also the blueprint for how we are called to love. Love is wanting the good for another and being willing to do what it takes to bring about this good in the person’s life.
Having been created by this Love that is God and made in the image and likeness of the same God who is a community of self-donating love; means that we can never experience the fullness of Joy, if we isolate ourselves from others, hold ourselves back selfishly from others. Unless we give ourselves in love, we can never be fully human. This is especially and uniquely true in the Sacrament of Marriage, which, ideally, images the Trinity to the world. But is also true with regards to all of our relationships. If God's essential nature is love, so is ours! We are made for community. We are incomplete by ourselves. We are created to give ourselves to others and to receive others. This is the truth of our inner being and the greatest good to which our physical desires are oriented.
If Christianity were simply a religion of keeping the law, our inner life would not matter. In civil society, as long as we don’t break the law, the authorities don’t care what we privately think. Just as, in the case of cultural norms, as long as we don’t publicly go against them, no one really cares what we think or why. It’s entirely possible to follow civil and cultural laws, without ever believing that they are true, good and beautiful.
Relationship with God, on the other hand, is inauthentic and unsustainable if it is not born of belief that God is the author of the true, the good and the beautiful, and that I have been made to love and live according to what is true, seeking only the good and becoming and affirming the beautiful.
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.