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

July 13, 2018

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Take with you words, and return to the Lord and say to him “forgive all iniquity’ I have always been struck by this – take with you words. The Aztecs thought they had to take human blood. Israel   thousands of animals slaughtered on the temple altar. But the Lord wants something very simple and yet very difficult – take with you your own words – forgive all my iniquity.

This is very simple because we do not have to go up to heaven or descend into the abyss but the word is ever near, in our mouth and in our heart. We make it complex – we think that we have to be perfect to be accepted by God. This is our experience on the human level even with people who love us and respect us. We are constructed in such a way, that we love what is good. And without meaning to, we make our love conditional – if you are good, I will love you because this is what we do – we love what is good. The great mistake we make is thinking God is like us – He will love us because we are good. If we are bad He will not love us. It is the reverse – he creates goodness by first loving us. This is how He is – your Father causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. He loves us in order to make us good. He does not need us to be perfect in order to love us. He wants us to come to Him as we are, as sinners, to be made perfect.

So it is very simple. Take with you words and return and say to him ‘forgive all iniquity’ Yet what is so simple is very difficult because of our pride. We want to be on equal terms with God. We would like to perfect ourselves and then relate with Him on an equal footing. It galls us that we cannot stand and will never ever be able to stand our own spiritual feet. That we will never possess perfection in ourselves first. That we can only be perfect in a relationship of constant and utter dependence on God. But this is the only way – unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.