Blog # 449 ...in God's love.
This blog originated in some notes I had used in preparation for a homily at Mass over in Sandersville, GA twenty years ago. The readings of the Mass were: Is. 66: 10-14 and Luke 10: 1-9
Throughout the world Mother Teresa of Calcutta was known as a holy person. She had accomplished a great deal in her love for the poor and afflicted. Yet if we study her life and the talks she gave on occasions of dedicating hospitals and places of refuge for the poor it becomes evident that in her own mind her holiness does not so much consist in what she had accomplished as her personal relationship with God. It is in God's name and with God's power within herself that she did what she did and said what said. And it has been this way with holy people down through the ages.
Jesus reinforces this truth and reminds of it in Luke 10: 1-9. He focuses the relationship His disciples have with Him by sending them out to preach the message and share what He has shared with them. They accomplish the task and come back from their mission rejoicing. Jesus lets them know He was aware of what they accomplished and rejoiced with them. Nevertheless He tells them do not rejoice so much over what you have done as in that you are living in union with God, and that
your names are inscribed in Heaven".
I wonder how many people experience the impact of Luke's use of the present tense of the verb used in that statement of Jesus. I think some people would tend to read the phrase "are inscribed" as "will be inscribed" in Heaven. We tend to think of Heaven as coming in the future rather than as present, now, as well as then.
If what we do is the expression of who we are, and this seems to be what Jesus was telling the returning missionaries, then we do rejoice in what we do, yes, but even more in who we are. Both elements of our identity are the will of God and cause of rejoicing. but one is temporary, the other for now and forever.
These thoughts led me back to the first reading at Mass, from the prophet Isaiah. Writing centuries before Jesus, the author invites his readers to rejoice with Jerusalem. It is the time of the return of God's people from exile. They are coming home to the Holy City. Their exile and separation from the Jerusalem was a response from God to their sinfulness. Their coming back was the joy of being reunited with a loving mother. "As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you."
It should be easy for us to understand and appreciate the joy in both these readings, the joy of coming home, and, with the power of God and at the invitation of Jesus, the joy of sharing the message of Jesus with others. I asked myself the question: must this joy be the experience of people back in the time of Isaiah and of Jesus, or can it, should it be mine today? And the answer came: Yes!, it can, it should be mine. Then I set out to discover how and when.
I began to realize more clearly the meaning and impact of the fact "I believe in one God". as I say so regularly and nonchalantly each Sunday in the Creed at Mass. One God, the Creator of all. The
God who summoned and led the Chosen People back to Jerusalem is the same God who summons and leads us today to wherever he wants us to be, for whatever His commandments lead us to think say and do. Their joy is our joy. United with Jesus through faith and Baptism and sent by Him to share with all we meet, the same message He gave the seventy two disciples sent in Luke, their joy is my joy. God has a plan or will for each of us always, today. To be aware of this is to be aware of His joy and mine in all that we do in His name.
There is but one God, and God is love. Everything and everyone is connected In God's love. If we understand that and live by it our names are inscribed in Heaven!