Reflection: 5th Friday in Ordinary Time

Mass: Friday, February 12, 2010
First Reading: Sir 47:2-11
Responsorial: Psalm 18:31, 47 and 50, 51
Gospel: Mk 6:14-29

Sometimes I got bogged down in the stories of the Old Testament.  It often seems to be same story told over and over and over again:

“God speaks through the prophet, the people repent, God promises to reign prosperity upon the people  forever if they remain faithful to him, the people do good for a while, then they turn their backs on God, God get’s angry and promises them only tragedy until they repent, they don’t, Israel get’s plundered, God speaks through the prophet, the people repent. And the cycle starts over.

The easy assumption to make is that God is vengeful and punishes us when we do wrong.

But I think the message is much more profound than that. We need to remmeber that as many times as the Israelites got it wrong, God forgave them and let them try to make it right again. In the dark times, I wonder, was God really saying “You’ve done wrong and now you have to suffer!” so much as he was saying “Come back! Come back! You’ve wandered away from me and I can’t help you unless you come back to me!

In our lives we experience Spiritual Highs and Spiritual Lows. At times we feel very close to God, but at others we seem to have fallen away and God appears to be very distant. Perhaps, at those times, we’ve lost track of what it really important, we’ve taken our trust from God and placed in the hands of something, or someone else. Then things  start to go wrong. We feel like God is punishing us.

He isn’t.

We have simply wandered away and he can’t help us unless we come back. We learn of our total dependence upon God. At these times, through all the muck, we hopefully hear God saying “Trust Me, look HERE, come back, and we’ll get through this together.

As many times as we screw it up, God will call us back and forgive us. And through his Grace, we may just get it right for once.

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