Thursday, September 13, 2012

God's Munificence

We share reflections from our Father Gabriel's fine homily from this past Sunday.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,        
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
These words from Isaiah proclaim the overwhelming munificence of God in dealing with his beloved creation. We see it at work in Christ's healing of the deaf man in the region of the Decapolis. Throughout this scene the man himself remains silent, and it is the friends who brought him that ask Christ to heal him. Yet the miracle itself takes place in an intensely personal setting. Jesus takes the man off by himself, “away from the crowd” as Mark says, and it is there that he performs a solemn but intimate ritual, praying with eyes raised to heaven and witnessing to his own emotion by his groaning. Here we have the outpouring of God's love concentrated on one of his children,  thanks to Jesus' loving ministry.

In each of our lives too that insistent love of God has been bearing down upon us, right from the beginning at the moment of our creation in his image and likeness; an image impressed even more deeply at the time of our Baptism. Set in the midst of our brothers and sisters, we are called to share in God’s creative process by being for them a context and a contributing force in the great adventure of God’s own work of gradually filling out the image of his Son in them as well as in ourselves.

How can we correspond to God's ongoing initiative in our lives in a way that is at least humanly proportionate to the magnitude of the gift? In the past we have been dedicating ourselves to the service of God and done our best to be faithful to the graces that have come our way. But perhaps we still lag behind in opening ourselves more fully to the driving force of God's love which awaits an even more fitting response. Do we depend too much on what we think we are capable of, instead of buying into God's idea of what he can and wants to do with us? As Saint Ignatius says, “Few suspect what God would do in their souls if only they would let him do it.”

Paradoxically sin is no excuse for not drawing closer to God, for he has built into us the capacity for reconciliation. Indeed in John’s Gospel the Father’s forgiveness of sin is seen as the great revelation of the depth of his love for us. “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.” Nothing can stop the onrush of God’s reaching out to us.