Caring Fidelity

The God whom Jesus reveals is not a God consumed with power, but a God interested in relationships of caring fidelity, a God who is in solidarity with the most vulnerable and most needy. Jesus gives and forgives. When we walk with Jesus, God’s generosity is guaranteed, making greed and the frenetic pursuit of acquiring more and more of everything both inappropriate and unnecessary. Jesus gives us new marching orders: love one another. And in the eyes of Jesus, a brother and a sister is everyone, even those who don’t look like us, don’t act like us, don’t believe like us…and even those who make us uncomfortable or hate us. Jesus calls us to an alternative way of life, a way which says no to control, power and domination, a way which say yes to trusting in the abundance of God.

Following Jesus requires a lot more than learning abstract ethical and moral principles; it requires a change in heart, a change in the way we look at life. A heart transformed by the love of Christ is a patient heart, a heart that takes the time to be still and to listen. To see with the eyes of Christ, is to see the beauty of all creation, to see the beauty within ourselves and within each other.

We are all in such a hurry, rushing from here to there, from this to that, an endless treadmill of movement going nowhere. Anxiety is as common as a cold. We are anxious about the future, our jobs, our relationships…we are anxious about virtually everything. And our anxiety breeds a drive to acquire more and more of everything. I bought a shirt I didn’t need yesterday. Nothing is enough. We want more of everything. More money, more prestige, more clothing, more contacts, better cars, bigger houses, faster computers.

And in our endless movement, our constant rushing, we do not see our own loneliness, our brokenness. In stillness, we see that we are all wounded. But as our hearts become more transformed by the presence of Christ, we are able, in our weakness, to feel the love of God and to trust in the abundance of God’s love. Our relentless drive to acquire more is fueled by our deep-rooted sense of scarcity, our inability to trust that God wants to give us all that we need.

The Gospel presents us with profound social, economic and political challenges. Issues of global poverty and hunger, corporate corruption and greed, and national policies of war and nuclear arms are gospel concerns. The Gospel demands a response from us, which can be boiled down to three simple and clear things that we, as the body of Christ, cannot tolerate in our private and public lives: hunger, cheating and violence. Moreover, we are compelled to treat all with dignity and equality, constantly on alert to extend mercy and compassion to all who are hurting.

And these Gospel values can be found in the core beliefs of all faiths. Mercy, compassion and love are human values, and it is those virtues that can unite us as a human family, and help us see and know that the poor of Haiti and countless other developing nations are our brothers and sisters, and we must stand with them in fraternity and solidarity. And we can begin to do this by taking at least baby steps toward defying political polarization, consumerism and militarism and putting our full trust in God’s abundance, mercy and love.

Every facet of our lives needs to be permeated by love in order to grow closer to God. Any portion of our lives that we have not surrendered to love, becomes an obstacle to reaching God.

“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?” –Thomas Merton

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