2nd Week of Advent (Tuesday, 11th December, 2018)
First Reading: Is 40: 1-11 (Prepare the way of the Lord)
Gospel: Mt 18: 12-14 (Lost sheep)
“So it is not the will of my father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish”. These words reveal the salvation the Lord wishes to give each one of us. Jesus assures us of God’s love and His concern for each of His people. For unlike man’s love which is passive, vicious, cruel, cold, God’s love is kind, unjudgmental and unconditional (2 Cor 13:11). God loves us actively to the extent of giving his only son up to death on the cross.
Ever since the creation of the world, no matter the people may remain disobedient, He takes initiative to look for them. The scripture in several passages portrays the real character and nature of God as someone who cares, loves, and makes every effort to trace out the lost and the astray. Nowhere in the scripture, can we find any instance when people have been condemned to eternal damnation. Even when the sin was abounding, God always chose people like Moses, Abraham, Noah etc. to redeem the people. We find an example in the dialogue between God and Abraham. We see Abraham pleading for the salvation of people. Although God had the plan of destroying them for the immensity of sins on their part, God, through the pleading of Abraham, took mercy upon even the sinners (Gen 18:16-33).
Yes, God’s love is steadfast, unchanging and indeed comforting. So does Isaiah say, “He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Is 40:11). Yes, even though materially or physically speaking one may be strong and mighty, one can be really strong only in God provided we rely on God’s help. In the book of Psalm we would read, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” (Ps 27:1).
Actually the reason why we doubt in the love of God or why we are not able to taste His love or not able to have confidence in God is because our priority lies elsewhere. If our interest or focus is towards the things of this world, we should be afraid because there is every chance of losing it. Jesus too warns us about it saying, Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Mt 6:19-20) Human relations are unsteady, bitter, fragile and momentary. But God’s relationship does not depend on the disposition of human beings. Jesus says clearly, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outwards appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).
We find the immense love God has for all sorts of people shown through Jesus in Bible at many instances. For example, e.g. Jesus wanting to be a guest as Zacheus’ house, Jesus’ forgiving the woman caught in adultery, Jesus, curing the paralytic person and so on.
In all these, we realize that Pharisees in particular, at that time carried on “eye for eye”, tooth for tooth” in thier mind and measured people accordingly. The general pattern of thought is that the sinners must be condemned and the righteous should be upheld. We find this in the incident of the woman caught in adultery where the public wanted that the woman should be stoned to death but Jesus has another pattern of thought. Jesus brought in the law of mercy, kindness and love that does not keep record of the past sins of people and is ready to welcome them, which Jesus tried to make us understand through the parable of Good Samaritan.
Yes. The Lord our God is incomparable in mercy and love. There is none to be compared with Him for His abundant and unconditional kindness. So he says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” (Is 49:15). Let us place ourselves on His shoulders which will carry on all our burdens and He will lead us on His path that is to make ourselves kind and merciful to one another like Him. It needs that we build up intimacy with him as we would do with anyone who is quite dear to us in our life. The more time we spend in God’s word in prayer, the more confidence we will put up in him and we would experience the providence of God all the more. Amen.