We are presented with some great Scripture in today’s Mass. For me, these passages offer insights to the greatness of God, in His uncanny and mysterious capacity to “make Himself small” so that we may experience His presence and love.
To put these passages into perspective, I offer first the words of Jesus: the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: (John 5:19) With these words of Jesus in mind, let us look at some passages from today’s readings:
1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30 Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of the whole community of Israel, … he said, “Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;…Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth? If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!”
Here is an example of Solomon’s wisdom, the gift he prayed for and received from God. Solomon recognizes God’s great desire to “dwell upon the earth” with His people. Of course, for us as Christians, this God, is the Father, as Jesus would later teach us to say and pray. This passage from the First Book of Kings instructs us of a great truth; God the Father, the Creator of all, desires to be with us!
Psalm 84: “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!”
For the psalmist, very much like King Solomon, this dwelling place for God was the temple. “Blessed they who dwell in your house!” “My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Even though the psalmist views the temple as the dwelling place of God, he acknowledges at the same time the intimacy the human person is created to experience with the Living God…which is nothing short of recognizing God’s great desire to be with us!
(Mark 7:1-13) Then in the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the importance for our hearts to remain in intimate contact with God (the Father). “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…” Indeed, we are to always remain open to the love of the Father, in intimate communion with the Father’s love.
So, if we look at the words of Jesus taken from John’s Gospel, we learn more about God the Father through the Son, Jesus. Everthing Jesus is and does is a reflection (or perhaps better, a revelation) of the Father. When we examine the life and ministry of Jesus through the lens of His statement that he can only do what He sees the Father doing, we begin to learn more of the Father’s great love for us, and thus we can believe we have nothing to fear of God.
In the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, we experience the Father’s desire to be with us.
Jesus continually chose to love…the Father is eternal Love for us.
Jesus brought healing and forgiveness…the Father desires to provide for our every need.
Jesus suffered and died for us, for our sins…our sins cause great suffering for our Father.
Jesus established the Church and the Eucharist…the Father wishes to share His life with us. (Talk about God’s great capacity to make Himself “small” for us!) Jesus, fully present in the consecrated host, draws us into the very Life of God.
What “connections” can you make between the life and ministry of Jesus with the Father’s infinite Love for us?