Yesterday, showered by love, well wishes for my birthday and surrounded by my family, I had time to think. Not a lot mind you, but enough to be so grateful to God for all His blessings. Looking back on how richly God has provided for our family, answered our prayers in times of difficulties and illnesses, and continues to allow us to live in security and freedom, I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving. And yet, my life is not much different from my 5 year old grandson’s, who during my birthday celebration last night was so excited for me to open the gift he helped pick out (a nerf bow and arrow for US to play with), and then pitched a fit when all the attention wasn’t going to focus on him. Many times I take it all for granted.
Our mass readings today (EX 2:1–15A, MT 11:20–24) tell us the story of Moses being saved from Pharaoh’s slaughter and then how he takes retribution in his own hands and murders a man. In our Gospel, Jesus rebukes several towns where His miracles and mighty works have been done, for not repenting and turning their hearts to God. He tells them that their judgement will be more harsh than for those who never heard of Him.
Every work done by God, every providential gift, every prayer. for guidance and healing ever answered, has been done so that we might understand God’s great love for us and to draw us closer to Him. It was true in Jesus’ time as well as in ours. Our country is the richest and enjoys the most freedom of any place perhaps in history and on earth. Yet even with all these blessings, we fall farther and farther from God. Our hearts, instead of turning to Him in repentance, are hardened with arrogance and selfishness. Like spoiled children, we may give God our minute attention but then we pitch a fit when it’s not all about us. Instead of being grateful, we want more, more, more. What Jesus is asking from us today is repentance, a metanoia… turning our hearts back to God, in gratefulness, appreciation and love. However, the warning of judgement brings fear with it. Sometimes when we fall so far from what we should do, like that spoiled child, the fear of time-out or a spanking is the only thing that works. God, the perfect parent, wished His children would listen and obey for love’s sake, but will take whatever He gets and then continue to shower His love upon us to try to turn our hearts toward Him. God wants us to spend Eternity with Him, but unless we respond better to His love and His Word, our judgement will be more harsh than for those who perpetrate violence and mayhem, even against their own people, for lack of knowing any different because they haven’t heard the Word of God as we have. We have been warned. Peace and All Good, my friends!