God Is on Our Side

October 18, 2015: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 53:10-11
Psalms 33:4-5, 18-20, 22
Hebrews 4:14-16
Mark 10:35-45

Where is Jesus right now? We know that He is in the heart of every Christian: this is a spiritual presence. We know that He is truly present under the appearances of bread and wine in the sacrament of the Eucharist: this is the real, sacramental presence. We know that He promised to be present wherever two or three are gathered in His name: this is the ecclesial presence. We know that He is present through divine inspiration in the Sacred Scriptures. We also know that He is present, mysteriously, in every human being, since we are created in God’s image, and since Jesus told us that every good deed done for our neighbor is, in His mind, a good deed done also for Him.

All of the presences are important, true, and fill us with comfort and understanding.

But they are all mediated by faith.

In other words, we truly encounter Christ in all these ways, but none of them is the same kind of encounter that the Apostles had after Christ’s resurrection and before His ascension.

Why is that? Today’s Second Reading gives us the answer. It explains that Jesus, in a literal sense has “passed through the heavens” and is standing at “the throne of grace.” Jesus is in the throne room of His Father’s house, and from that divine headquarters He is both preparing a place in heaven for each of His followers, and also ruling His Kingdom and all of history through His providence.

This is an essential part of the gospel, because it explains why every follower of Christ can, as the Second Reading put it, “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

In other words, Jesus is proof positive that God is on our side, right now and for all eternity.

It is as if Jesus is our representative in heaven.

He is there interceding for us, just as an ambassador intercedes for someone with a foreign government.

And what is He interceding for?

First of all, mercy — the total forgiveness and healing of our past.

And second of all, grace — the strength, light, and courage we need for whatever the present and future may bring us.

This is the true message of the Eucharist. Jesus chose to remain with us under the appearance of bread. And what is bread? One of mankind’s most basic foods. Bread gives our bodies strength, so that we can continue our physical activity. In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus is truly present giving our souls the nourishment and strength we need to continue our spiritual journey towards wisdom and holiness.

Pope Benedict XVI summarized this powerfully in one of his Wednesday catechetical addresses.

In these Wednesday audiences, he spoke on various themes to all the pilgrims who were visiting Rome, and he spoke about topics he considered important for all Catholics, us included.

In one of these talks, he expressed the core meaning of the Eucharist and the Mass as follows: “To celebrate the Eucharist means that Christ gives himself to us, His love, to conform us to himself and thus create the new world” (12 December 2008, Wednesday Audience). This is an even stronger statement than saying that God “is on our side.” The Pope reminded us that God, through Christ in the Eucharist, becomes the very source of our Christian living — that’s grace, that’s supernatural strength.

As Jesus himself put it during the Last Supper: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

God is on our side, and His grace and mercy are always available to us.

So why do we feel so distant from God sometimes?

It’s uncomfortable to admit, but the fault is not with God; it’s with us.

True, God’s love is unconditional; He will never hold back His mercy and grace from those who seek it sincerely.

But many times we do not seek it sincerely. If we turn the faucet on the sink, water will flow out. But the fact is, sometimes we don’t turn on the faucet. In a private revelation about the Divine Mercy, Jesus actually complained about that; He expressed painful frustration at our reluctance to open ourselves to His grace and mercy. He told St Faustina: “Tell the world about My mercy and My love. The flames of mercy are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them!”

How sincerely are we seeking God’s grace and mercy?

Three thermometers can help us measure the sincerity of our seeking. First, our life of prayer: How actively are we striving to increase the quality (not necessarily the quantity) of our daily prayer time? Second, the sacrament of confession: How regularly and frequently do we give Jesus the chance to redeem our past, to pour out the power of His forgiveness? Third, the Eucharist: How conscientiously do we prepare our hearts to receive Holy Communion, actively to receive the spiritual vitamins He wants to give us instead of just going through the motions?

Today, as we continue with this Mass, which is the surest proof that God is on our side, let’s stir up our desire to receive His grace and mercy, and invite Him to walk by our side through the difficult journey of the coming week.

3 Responses to “God Is on Our Side”

  1. blade and soul gold Says:

    If I have the guts to quit my job .

  2. Deacon Klaus Says:
  3. Deacon Klaus Says:

    When we leave everything for Jesus, we receive a hundred times more. We receive the joy, the happiness, and the freedom that only He can give. In the final analysis, is this not what we are all hoping for anyway?

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