“Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people...But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets…” 2 Chronicles 36:15-16
I read something quite beautiful yesterday that said: “I feel sorry for God. He never seems to learn his lesson! He keeps getting “stung,” and yet he still persists in loving mankind.” Our God is definitely persistent. He will not take no for an answer. We shrug him off, and he keeps coming back with more acts of love and mercy. And then to top it all off, he sends us his only Son not only to show us the depth of this love but to die for us so that we can be saved.
Thank God that God hasn’t given up on us. But have we given up on him? The world hasn’t changed much since the time of Israel’s exile in the first reading. They ignore God. They cast him aside. God is approached with indifference. They also ignore the messengers of God. They mock us, the insult us, they don’t understand us. We stand up for our faith, but the world tries to bring us down to its level. We cannot and will not be brought down to a world of secularism that has no room for God. This is the darkness that Jesus is talking about in the gospel where sin prevails. Yet the world seeks to mock our beliefs, they want the Church to “get with the times”, they want us to get rid of “antiquated beliefs, “ and they want us to just go away and let every one do their own thing. But isn’t this the problem that the Jews encountered in the first reading? Didn’t they turn their backs on God and reduce themselves to worldly pleasure only to have everything they held dear, namely the temple and the promised land, ripped away from them? Make no mistake: this is the road that the world wants the Church to travel. The other day a big deal was made of an actress telling us that we were living in the Dark Ages. Why do we put so much importance on what actors and celebrities say? We are not living in the Dark Ages. She is! If she prefers living in a world of sin and debauchery where babies are aborted, children are encouraged to have sex, wars are waged, anyone can marry anyone of any sex and then divorce them just as easily…I call THAT the Dark Ages! You see, I choose to live in the splendorous light of our Lord. I choose to live rejoicing in the fact that God loved me so much that he sent me his only Son to die on the cross to free me my sins. This is where I find true happiness. If they insult me and persecute me, so be it. I am proud to be a priest. I am proud to be a Catholic. You should be too.
And if you feel like you have turned your back on God and gotten stuck in the filth that the world is trying to suck us into, it’s not too late. God is persistent. God is waiting for you. You could be the greatest sinner in the world. He doesn’t care. He wants you to experience his joy, his mercy, and his peace. The world lives in a state of indifference, but we cannot be indifferent to God’s love. If somebody says, “I love you” to you, don’t you have to respond? The beauty of our God is that he does not give up on us. Why are we so quick to give up on him? Is it because we are afraid that they will mock us? Remember Jesus says that even though we live in this world, we do not belong to the world and that is why they hate us (cf John 15:19). Do not be afraid. God is by our side. And if they insult you and persecute you because of your faith, so be it. Rejoice and be glad, for yours is the kingdom of God (cf. Matthew 5:12).