Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

God Picks the Tune

In today's readings at Mass (Wed after XXIV Sun in Ord: 1 Tim 3:14-16; Ps 111; Lk 7:31-35) Jesus criticizes His audience (us!) for their (our!) fickleness and pride. They were agitated at John the Baptist's insistence on strict observation of the Law and incessant demands for rigorous prayer and fasting, to the point that they claimed he had been possessed. After all, what sort of lunatic lives on grasshoppers?! Jesus, on the other hand, they criticized as a drunkard and glutton, and a Law-breaker: turning water into wine to keep a party going, great dinners (at the house of traitors and among prostitutes, no less!), and allowing his disciples to break Sabbath regulations against working (he let them snack on ears of wheat that they picked as they walked amidst the fields). What kind of so-called messiah does such things!?

The Pharisees and the people were fickle because they couldn't decide what kind of messiah they wanted: a harsh one who insisted on the Law, or a gentle one who was more intent on mercy. They were prideful because they thought they got to decide what sort of messiah they should have. If the messiah was to be sent by God, then wasn't God better to decide what the messiah should be like?

We do the same thing. "My God doesn't discriminate against..." many a statement starts. Really? My God? In Make-Believe Land we might each get to make up our own god or goddess, to suit our own specifications, what we think good and bad. But in Reality (God being a real thing, like a house or a dog or a person or a tree - if He's just an opinion of mine, what's the point?) God is the way He is - what if He happens to discriminate against such people? What if He happens to care about such-and-such a thing, or not about that other thing? If God is real, wouldn't we be better off coming to know Him as He is, so that we can relate to Him in real terms?
Then we can decide, without pretense, whether we submit to Him or rebel against Him.
But this talk of "My God is like such-and-such..." is the most hypocritical farse - who are we to determine what God is like? Only the language makes such a lie imaginable. We haven't each got our own God, as the language implies. There is one God, and He is what He is. The question isn't "Does my god care what I do in my bedroom?" Rather, it is "Does the one God care about what I do in my bedroom?" And in light of the Christian revelation of God's immense love for us, the question becomes, "Does the one God care about me even when I am in my bedroom?" If we want to sin, we will be tempted to answer no - but doing so is a direct denial of Jesus Christ, who showed and taught us dramatically how much God cares about us always and everywhere.

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