Jesus: Revealing God
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
We commonly talk as though we know lots about God. We pretend to know who is in and out with God, who is blessed and cursed. We give the impression that we can see God’s purpose in daily and even extraordinary events of life. We even give the impression that we know God’s mind for the future. Is it possible to have such knowledge? Like it or not the answer is yes and no.
What we know about God, what we can say that we actually understand, is what we know and understand about Jesus. When we say that God is love, it is because we’ve experienced the radical love in which Jesus lived and acted. When we say that God forgives anyone who will accept forgiveness, it is because we’ve witnessed the generosity that characterized Jesus’ forgiving. We speak confidently of God’s promise to bring all of creation to fulfillment. We don’t know that from philosophical musing or messages in the stars. We know it because Jesus taught and lived that message throughout his life and, when evil seemed to triumph over him, God raised him from death.
The Church limits its official teachings about God to what it sees in Jesus. It doesn’t forbid folks from having their opinions about God that they developed in other ways, but it withholds its seal of approval from such opinions.
Sometimes people wonder what to think about God. They worry about God’s relationship with them. They fret about purported plans that God harbors and their place in them. It’s our Tradition that Jesus is our touchstone for testing ideas about God. Getting to know Jesus’ life as well as we can is the way we get an accurate feel for God and God’s ways. It’s a relationship we only build together with other people of faith, whose wisdom and honesty we trust.