God is not a rival but rather an ally of the human race. God is a Father who gives Himself and is always ready to forgive and even finds joy in forgiving freely. We cannot pay for God’s gifts because these are priceless.
PUBLISHED ONAug 2018
Without any doubt, in order to live with faith and enthusiasm, Christians need to have a positive image of God. This is particularly true for those who are directly involved in the Church’s missionary activities. Missionaries need to contemplate and give witness to Christ Jesus because in Him the Merciful God was made visible in a way which is beyond human comprehension.
Evangelii Nuntiandi, the Apostolic Exhortation of Paul VI, asserts: “There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed” (EN. 7)
In Jesus God has manifested Himself in marvelous and fascinating ways. In Him God has showed Himself to us not as a despot, but as the one who is at our service and at the service of all humankind.
This is the way it is. Rather than having us serving Him, God placed Himself at our service, in Christ Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. “For the Son of Man,” Jesus said, “came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 10:42-45)
God, in Christ, did not manifest Himself as someone who lowers and humiliates people, but rather as someone who, seeing how precious the human person is, lifts the person to Himself and makes the person confident.
God Is Not A Rival
God does not appear and does not act as a rival of the human race but rather as an ally. In doing so He makes us and humanity confident, even in the face of death. How fascinating is Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23:1-2).
In Jesus, God the Father showed Himself not as someone who is exacting in a pedantic or even cruel way, but as the one who gifts us with gratuity and generosity. The new face of God revealed by Jesus is that of a Father who gives Himself and gives salvation leading to fullness of life, for free. Woe to us if we were to pay for God’s gifts! We could not make it, because the gifts of God have an infinite value.
A good example of God’s gratuitousness is the answer of Jesus to the good thief who was asking for mercy. Jesus answered: “Truly I tell you: today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). Jesus showed Himself not as someone who accepts some and excludes others, but as one who accepts all with a kind love we could call “irrational.”
Jesus shows us a God whose heart is immensely bigger than the world, embracing everyone. Jesus reveals to us a Father who “makes the sun rise over the bad and the good, and showers rain over the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). And God’s attention to each individual person is total, as if He had no one else to think about.
The Father of Jesus showed Himself not as someone always ready to punish sinners with a heavy hand, but rather like one who is always ready to forgive. God even finds joy in forgiving. Let us remember Jesus forgiving a sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) and the three parables of mercy: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the merciful father (Luke 15).
And so we pray:
Blessed be God the Father, and the only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for He has shown us His merciful love. (From the Liturgy)