Sunday, September 02, 2012

My God is transcendent BUT He can be so immanent too. (22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B)

Reflection for the readings of the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B.

This phrase from the 1st reading is so true. "For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?" (Dt. 4:7).  My God is indeed close to me, He reveal himself in a personal, relational and intimate way. He love me so much that He even sent His only begotten son, Jesus to save us all (Jn. 3:16). Part of my reflection was to change the word 'nation' from the phrase I mentioned above to the word 'religion'. And it certainly did drive home some point.  I am proud to be a Catholic and from the Catholic Church I have known that my God is transcendent (beyond any limits) but this God can be so immanent (among us, within us) too. I do encounter God walking with me especially in times of difficulty and struggle. At times I do not understand His doings in my life and all the more in times of crisis, but I am aware that God is with me. He is Emmanuel. 
Just recently I wrote a reflection on the 'Incarnation' (the Word becoming flesh, God becoming human), click here for a read. 

"For God sent His Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all humankind, to live among them and to tell them about the inner life of God" (DV #4). DV is  Dei Verbum - the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. This 2nd Vatican Council document further explains that "Jesus revealed that God is with us, to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life." Now how true is the phrase that we saw at beginning from Deuteronomy; is there any other god that has done this? Is there any other god that has come down to us, come close to us and lived among us? I just don't understand how some people can leave the Catholic church just like that? Hmmm maybe their faith is shallow? DV # 5 states that 'the obedience of faith' must be our response to God who reveals. Many of us fail to see God walking with or carrying us in times of crisis. Let us pray then like the disciples, Lord increase our faith! (Lk. 17:5).

I must say that I am no expert in other religions but I know that the Catholic faith do not need any methods, mediums or some kind of difficult task in order for God to reach down to us or hear us. Some might need to go through some sort of 'amazing race' or 'survivor' obstacles in order for them to reach god or even going to a point of hurting themselves through walking on fire or piercing the body or even banging drums so that god will hear. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (5:12-21) tells us that we are all justified in Christ Jesus and all we need is to be holy before God. It is sad that at times my fellow Christians can be so superstitious and just following practices that has no meaning. Jesus in the Gospel today was angry with the scribes and pharisees for disregarding God's commandment but clinging to human tradition. Now since I have used the word 'religion'  for my reflection in the phrase above to make comparisons of my Catholic Faith and with all other faiths, the second reading today helps me define what my religion should be. In the 2nd letter of St. James he defines that "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans,  widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world." St. James here is reminding us all to our call to holiness with the three 'pillars' of a Christian way of life i.e prayer, fasting and works of mercy. All we need to do is love God and all His people To LOVE is God's commandment. 

Now I welcome all of you to change the word 'nation' for the phrase from Dt. 4:7 to any word that suits you for your reflection such as Community, BEC, Family, etc and reflect how the word  'us' on the second part of the phrase fits.
 "For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?" (Dt.4:7).