The first reading for tomorrow reminds us of a very important truth – Our God is total justice, but He is also total mercy. We don’t always understand His mysterious ways, and He is unfair. That’s right! I said UNFAIR. If He was fair, and we truly got what we deserve, how many of us would be doomed? I know I would.
Thankfully, He loves us completely – unimaginably so! He gives us chance after chance to change our hearts – to turn to Him. He wants, perhaps, more than anything for us to come home to Him at the end of this life. He will not thwart our freedom, however. He loves us enough to allow us to choose Him or to reject Him.
I love the second reading, because it reminds me of some of the wonderful things I learned at the Theology of the Body class I took at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans this week. Theology of the Body is a beautiful teaching of Pope John Paul II on the wonderful way that God created men and women for Himself, and for each other – equal but very different. We were intended to compliment each other and to help each other to grow in holiness. Original Sin (Adam and Eve) destroyed the beautiful way that God intended man and woman’s relationship to be. Jesus, however, came to restore and to redeem us! God planned for the marriage relationship to echo the relationship of the Holy Trinity. It was also intended to speak the truth of Christ’s love for us – a love that is “free, total, faithful and fruitful” – the love He showed to us by His act of redemption – His death on the cross – His resurrection. Paul’s letter to the Philippians speaks of this so eloquently,
“Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
The gospel reminds me of the term “lip service.” God is ever so brilliant. He knows what is in our hearts. He knows when we are giving Him lip service. We should ask ourselves, “Are our prayers heartfelt, or are we just trying to fulfilling a sense of duty?” If I am truthful, I must admit that sometimes, regretfully, mine can be empty words. My mind wonders, especially when I string prayers together that I know from memory.
Some of my most fulfilling prayer experiences have been when I sit alone in my room, close my eyes, and talk to God as I would my best friend. It is in those moments that I feel closest to Him.