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3 August 2014
posted by Canon Dakin on 10-08-2014

What, do you think, is the most important thing on life?  I suggest it is to be convinced of the love of God. St Paul, in the second reading, expresses his own conviction that no human tragedy would ever shake his reading of the message of the cross as God’s supreme and unconditional expression of love.

You know, sometimes, in our imagination we can drag God down to our own narrow human level and regard God the Father  as demanding reparation for wounded pride in piling terrible suffering on his Son to make up for human defiance of his majesty.  Rubbish! That makes God out to be as horrid and emotional as we are.

There is a problem with humanity, lost in the mist of our origins. We call it original sin.  We are still in a mess. There is so much suffering in the world: the anguish of mothers in Gaza not even able to bury their children killed where they thought they were safe; the plight of Christians in Iraq and Syria forced to leave their homes or be killed. Tomorrow we observe the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in which millions were sacrificed to the pride and petulance of a few. We have our personal troubles of illness and bereavement, of tensions within families where there should be love and security. Why did God allow a world to come into being where there is so much suffering?  Just suppose you are God. You are planning to create the universe. You foresee that it is going to turn out a complete mess. What would you do? You would cancel your plan, surely.  What God has brought into being is therefore bound to be good. Maybe there’s clue in the Eucharistic Prayer: “Make us an eternal offering to you”. This life is only an ante-room to an eternity of existence. We are being gestated for birth into God’s world. You don’t remember your birth into this world, do you? We are familiar with the mother’s pain of child-birth. What about the child? Hardly an easy passage for the child. When we have become conscious of our presence in the world we discount the roughness of the passage. We need to see life here in terms of eternity. We are in passage.

Meanwhile St Paul found reassurance in the cross. Familiarity breeds superficiality. Christmases come and go without our challenging ourselves to  ponder, as Mary did, the love that drove God to be born as a child and immerse himself in every detail of human life, to endure the extremity of human suffering and death and to give us the reassurance of resurrection.  This was simply the deepest possible expression of God’s love and care. It does not clear away the mystery. We are unable yet to share God’s vision. We have to trust the signs of his loving involvement. The most potent sign we experience here - that God who died and rose again expresses the intensity of his love for each one of us by drawing us into intimate union through the sacrament of bread and wine. How could a thinking person not find reassurance that God cares and can justify his toleration of our freedom. 


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