Friday, April 18, 2014

Lumen Christi

This morning I kept to my schedule for reading the entire Bible in a year. I finished the Book of Ezra. In the ninth chapter, Ezra becomes keenly aware of how unfaithful Israel has been to God by intermarrying against God's explicit command prohibiting this. It seems that God's reason for this prohibition was to keep Israel from worshiping idols and false gods. Given that today is Good Friday, I was struck by Ezra's penitential prayer, which I will make mine today:
My God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to raise my face to you, my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven (Ezra 9:6)
Like Israel of old, who returned to the Promised Land from exile, "mercy came to us from the LORD, our God" (Ezra 9:8).

Jesus Christ is Divine Mercy. He came to deliver us from the land of our exile, from our alienation and estrangement from God, from our shame and guilt, not because we deserve it, but because God loves us that much. "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17). Nonetheless, "the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil" (John 3:19). We can condemn ourselves by our lukewarmness or by our outright refusal of God's love and mercy. Choose this day to end your exile, your estrangement, from God, who longs for you to address Him as "Abba, father." As St Paul wrote:
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him (Rom 8:15-18)

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