- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

February 9, 2018

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

5th Friday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 11: 29-32; 12:19; Mark 7:31-37

Ever since sin entered our world it has kept us separated from God and from one another. Sin has so enveloped us that we have come to accept division and separation as the norm. However, this is not how God sees the men and women He created. Jeroboam was instructed not to destroy Jerusalem, the City of David. While the people’s disaffection brought about the division of the kingdom, God, in his merciful and loving kindness reserved a remnant for Himself. From this remnant would come Messiah, the Savior of mankind. The victory of God is assured. As the Apostle John wrote, “Because the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). Jesus Christ is the way that leads sinful and fallen humanity home.

The Psalmist records the divine summons, “I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.” Despite our numerous sins and infidelities, God loves us and does not want anyone of us to perish. No matter how great our sins, God’s mercy is greater. We have only to recall the words God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel: “I take no pleasure in the death of the sinner. I want them to turn from their sinful ways and live” (Ezek. 18:23). If only we would listen to the voice of Love calling us to repent and return to Him, we would find the fullness of life. In the hands of God, all our former sins would be washed away. In the hands of God, like pliable clay, we will be refashioned and reformed in the divine image. Exposing ourselves to God’s loving gaze, we will find all of our sins forgiven and our guilt is blotted out.

Jesus Christ is the Hand God extends to the people who walk in darkness. He is the Word God speaks to the deaf and hard of heart. He is the cause of our joy that frees our tongues to proclaim the praises of God. In Christ, God calls us to return to Him in every aspect of our life. He calls us, each and every one, by name because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He wants us to know the joy of Love’s embrace. We have only to ponder Jesus’ words: “I have come to give them rich and abundant life” (Jn. 10:10). God, our Loving Father, invites us to begin loving again. May the Lord open the ears of our hearts so that we may hear His loving and life-giving Word. May He feed us with the Bread of life so that we might live in communion with all the members of the Body of Christ. When the Lord returns again in glory, may He bring us all together into everlasting life.