A Moment before the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

If we know anything about God, we know that God gets described with a bunch of “all stuff.” All-powerful. All-knowing. All-present. All-you-name-it. The list goes on and on.

But then there’s Sunday’s Gospel. Which ends like this, “so He was not able to perform any mighty deed there,…” That makes no sense.

Thinking about that endless list of “all stuff” we use to describe God. How can someone who truly is all-you-name-it be stopped from doing, well, anything? Especially by people just like you and me.

It comes down to two things. Both of them are given to us by God. And they have to be the most dangerous gifts that have ever been given.

The first one is free will.

You get to decide what you will do. And I get to decide what I will do. You and I are equally free to do the very best thing. Or the very worst thing. Or any of a thousand shades of gray in between.

The second dangerous gift? God’s respect for our decisions.

God doesn’t override our free will.

And that means what? It means that God doesn’t prevent us from making bad decisions. It wouldn’t be free will if He did.

It also means that God doesn’t protect us from the consequences of our decisions. Both good and bad consequences. It wouldn’t be free will if He did.

It means that we can say no to God. And it will mean something.

Whether we do it with a dramatic outburst. Or with the pettiness we see in Sunday’s Gospel. Or in a thousand subtle moments of turning away.

We can say no to God. And the eternal consequences of that choice will be ours.

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