A Moment before the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
There’s something that all of us struggle with. The picture of God as something distant and terrifying. Seething with anger. Waiting to strike us down. To punish us for something we did.
It’s a picture of God that has taken root in our imaginations.
And it doesn’t matter whether you believe. Or don’t believe. Or don’t know what to believe.
That picture of an angry God has some serious staying power.
It even has fans, people who really like the angry God. It’s usually people who have decided that they know who their all-powerful rabid beast will be mauling.
I’m yet to meet any of the angry God fans who see themselves as one of the targets.
But you don’t have to be a fan of the angry God (or picking out targets for its wrath) for that picture to stick in your mind. It’s a picture that will poison your relationship with God. Or keep you from having any relationship with God at all.
But it’s one that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
You’re probably saying, “But Deacon, I heard this…,” or “Deacon, I read that…”.
I know. I heard it. Just like you did. I read it. It’s a picture that sticks with me too.
Which is why I can’t get enough of God clearing out all of that garbage.
I need the real picture of God. I need those places in the Gospel, where the crowd follows Jesus.
Whether they follow Jesus for the wrong reasons, or the right reasons, or maybe no reason at all. I need to see how Jesus reacts to them. And it’s the same every time.
Every time Jesus looks out at that crowd, that mess of humanity that looks just like you and me. All of us doing what we do for the wrong reasons, the right reasons, or maybe no reason at all. Jesus reacts the same way every time.
Jesus looks at that mess of humanity, at you and at me.
And it’s love at first sight.
In case you ever want that real picture.