THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Place our Souls in God’s Hands
Stumbling is part of the human chromosome. From Adam until now humankind keeps awkwardly walking through the divine landscape faltering every step of the way. In Adam, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Despite our faulty DNA God’s love for us endures forever (Ps.136; Is.49:16). God implanted in us qualities the devil abhors most; the devil seeks every opportunity to rescind them. God will not let him. Instead, God loves us even in our imperfections; God is indefatigably patient in his efforts to protect our integrity (Is.62:1). He refuses to condemn us (Jn.3:17). God never rejected Adam. He never rejected any sinner who approached him in faith (Is.1:18). The same with Christ Jesus.
The good thief, the woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, Paul, Zacchaeus, impetuous Peter and the rambunctious sons of Zebedee, James and John. Christ tolerated Judas’ madness unto death. He never condemned Judas. God and Christ never condemn anyone but always offer every sinner a second chance at repentance and conciliation. The author of Wisdom said it correctly: “You are merciful to all because you love all that exists (Wis.11: 23-24).” If God did not love us first, by now, we would all perish. However, St. John argues he loved first (1Jn.4:19) and to this Paul added, “Nothing, therefore, can come between us and the love of Christ (Rom.8:15). Paul contends we are always victors even in tragic circumstances “by the power of him who loved us first (Rom.8:35-39).”
The story of Zacchaeus points up to “The Penitent Thief”. Zacchaeus and Dismas both found Jesus on a tree. The cross is often described as a tree and so they found Christ while suspending between heaven and earth. Christ offered both of them a new lease on life in an atmosphere that was hostile to reconciliation – again it was not about Jesus; it was all about the object of his love. God loved the world so much that he gave us his only begotten Son that anyone who believes in him would perish but have eternal life. He did not come to condemn the world but to save it (Jn.3:16-17).
This mission statement found fulfilment in the conversion of Zacchaeus and Dismas and the others mentioned above. This same God said, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, I would rather see the wicked repent and live (Ezel.18:23).” Christ admonished Peter: there is never any limit to forgiveness (Matt.18:22). God’s mercy, his love, forgiveness and solidarity are ad infinitum.
God’s love and mercy, his solidarity with humankind are never conditioned by human or public opinion but always by his free choice to love us unconditionally as he said in Proverb “Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it (Prov.11:24-25).” Paul confirms this notion of unconditional love and mercy when he says God will make us worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all our desires for goodness and complete all we have been doing through faith … by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (1Thess.1:11-12). Let us be grateful, brothers and sister that we have a God and saviour, they care for our salvation. Embrace them with faith, joy and gladness and all will be well with our souls.
Lord, I place all my trust in you.