Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12
This letter from Paul and Timothy to the Corinthian community is a lovely letter full of personal conviction, hope and encouragement. They begin by sharing with the community and with us what has happened to them as a result of their personal relationship with Christ. “For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that indeed one died for all.” They are speaking about a conviction and conversion of the heart, not a rational sort of knowledge. They are shouting out that they have no choice – the love that is Christ in them, leaves them no choice but to reach out to others in love and reconciliation. This is the fruit of the mystery of redemption. And because of this love, they no longer experience others in the old way, but with new eyes of acceptance, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. Paul and Timothy write that they carry the message of reconciliation. They are urging and encouraging us to join them in the ministry of reconciliation.
What we do not read, is what Paul and Timothy experienced to come to this place of joy and enthusiasm. What does that journey entail? I do believe in the resurrected Christ. I do believe that Christ died for all. I do want to participate in the new order. But how can I be sure about a heart conversion? Lent may seem long ago, but the suffering Christ lives is all around us. But the risen Christ also lives, and lives through each one of us. We are invited to encounter the risen Christ in the privacy of our hearts, as well as in the hectic pace of our daily lives. Just as the lover has a private code or signal for the beloved, so to does the Lord for me.
What whispers stir my heart, what sights cause my heart to skip a beat, what images bring joy and laughter to my lips? If I pay attention I will recognize the voice of the Lover. Does the Spirit speak to me through the fiery rising sun, the dew spotted rose, the infant in my arms, or my elderly sick parent? Does the Lord stir me with compassion for the poor and homeless, allowing me to experience shame and remorse? Does my mind conjure images of past joys or sorrows? To be reconciled with God is to allow the Spirit into the deepest recesses of our hearts in mercy, kindness, gentleness and love. It is to invite the Lord to be with me patiently and gently in the darkness within. Within the growing relationship comes the freedom to genuinely love myself and others.
Our God is a loving, patient, gentle God inviting us to the fullness
of the vocation to which each one of us is called. When I am with
the one I love, I am more apt to be lovable and loving to all others.
As it goes on the human level – it goes even better with God! Today’s
good news is indeed exciting news as well.
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