How else would you recognize God’s love?
Readings of the Day
What is it that God continues to call out of us this Lenten Season? A willing spirit, yes, but for what?
Sometimes we may feel like our relationship to God only requires us to ask for forgiveness for our faults and, like pressing a spiritual “easy button”, all it made right in our relationship to God. We forget how relational we really are. God’s love is not about us and our requests. The Gospel reading almost reads like God’s response to Daniel’s acknowledgement in the first reading that the sufferings of his people are in part due their inattentiveness to God. It as though God is saying, “Yes! If you want my ‘compassion and forgiveness’ then offer it to one another.”
In the Gospel, we hear “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.” This is not meant as God threatening our salvation if we do not behave, the way a parents threatens a child’s dessert if they don’t eat their vegetables. Our God is not a God of coercion. Rather, God knows that our behavior determines our capacity to receive the love that God gives. If we cannot practice compassion and forgiveness, then our ability to recognize and know compassion and forgiveness from God is sadly limited. Luckily, God is not short of offering guidance to us on how to dwell in God’s abounding love… Afterall, in addition to the many prophets, God did send us Jesus. We can choose to accept who God calls us to be or not, but God respects us enough to let us endure the consequences.
It is not God who is in need of a change of heart. We are. This is where our willing spirit is needed, and in doing what God has called out of us, we can gain what God wants to give us.