THEME: GOD’S LOVE
READINGS: Exodus 19:2-6 / Romans 5:6-11 / Matthew 9:36-10:8
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Last Friday was the solemn feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart, as we know, symbolizes love. Therefore, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a celebration of His love, and by extension, of God’s love. This love is a special key for understanding today’s readings.
Of the several aspects of God’s love in today’s readings, let us focus on these four points:
- We are special to God
- He protects us
- He is compassionate
- His love is unconditional
As we celebrate Fathers’ Day, all fathers are called upon to aspire to love as God loves us, His children.
We are special to God: To the people of Israel whom God had rescued from Egypt through Moses, He said: “you shall be my treasured possession out of all peoples” (Exo. 19:5). This is an expression of how dear or special they were to God. The Lord God would emphasize this point by calling them “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo. 19:6). In other words, as the priests of old were set apart by God or consecrated to Him, so He set apart the whole nation of Israel for Himself. Hence, they were a “holy nation” of the Holy God.
Today, through His Son, Jesus Christ, God has made us His own treasured possession, His special people, His kingdom of priests, His holy people. And all these, because He loves us! Similarly, all fathers should hold their children dear and let them feel special or most precious to them.
God protects us: As an eagle protects its young ones by holding them high in the sky beyond the reach of any preying animals, so God rescued the Israelites and took them across the Red Sea beyond the reach of the Egyptians. Hence, when He had brought to them to safety in the desert, He said to them: “I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself” (Exo. 19:4). Even today, God is in the business of protecting us, of bringing us to the place of safety and security, because of His love for us. Similarly, all fathers should ensure the protection or the safety and security of their children.
God is compassionate: According to today’s gospel reading, when Jesus saw the crowd, He had compassion for them (cf. Matt. 9:36). In other words, Jesus was conscious of the misfortunes or troubles of the crowd and He took steps to help them, because of His love for them. Among the crowd were the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits. And as they were many, He would empower twelve of His disciples to assist Him in the work of healing the sick and casting out demons (cf. Matt. 10:1,8).
Even today, our God knows our misfortunes or troubles and He is moved, out of love for us, to heal or deliver us. Similarly, all fathers should be keenly conscious of the troubles and needs of their children and readily help them.
God’s love is unconditional: To do good to a good person is usually not difficult. However, to do good to a bad person is difficult. Worse still, if the bad person is your enemy. It is from this perspective, that St. Paul tells us that the love which God demonstrated in saving us through the death of His Son is a unique expression of unconditional love: “God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.… While we were [His] enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:8,10).
Dear fathers, this is the kind of unconditional or selfless love you are called upon to demonstrate to your children. So, forgive their shortcomings, including their ingratitude, and love them as God selflessly has loved you.
Beloved, we are special to God and He protects us, because He loves us with an unconditional love which is full of compassion. While we enjoy this special love of God, we are all called upon to demonstrate such love to one another. Today being Fathers’ Day, we have encouraged our fathers to aspire to demonstrate this love.
Finally, we wish all fathers, a happy Fathers’ Day! May God’s blessings abound in their lives! Amen!
By Most Rev. John Kobina Louis