[COLUMN] God’s luminous and un-consuming love 

I STILL think of last Sunday’s (March 20) Old Testament Reading on God’s presence through a burning bush. It’s a powerful image of God’s luminous presence, love, mercy, and wisdom. It burns continually; it cannot be consumed.

As human beings, we cannot fully comprehend him. Yet, like Moses, we approach him with fear and reverence. Our hearts seek him. As St. Augustine says, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God. “

That happens to us. We wake up at night or early in the morning with a deep longing to understand God’s ways and wisdom. We long for his mercy and forgiveness. We want his intervention in the things of the world.

We may not see him face to face. We may not comprehend his ways, but he became accessible to us. He showed us his unconditional and eternal love through the person of Jesus—the heart and mind of Jesus. In Jesus—his ministry, life, death, and resurrection, we have come to know the will and desires of God.

One of my favorite scenes in the Gospel is the time when the resurrected Christ showed himself to the apostles, particularly to Thomas.

Jesus said to Doubting Thomas. “Come near me. Touch the wounds on my hands and my side to see that it’s me. Don’t be unbelieving, but believe!

Here we find God who wants us to enter into his divine life. We’re not just meant for the things of the earth. We’re meant to dwell in God’s presence and un-consuming love.

That’s why God is so patient with us. He waits. He does not cut or uproot us right away; he grants us many chances to change.

He wants us to change, become fully alive, be strong, bear fruits, and live with purpose and meaning in every stage of life.

It’s the same message that God wants us to share in the story of The Prodigal Son. While we might contemplate the prodigality of the younger son, we might also look at the father’s prodigality. The younger son was prodigal when he prodigiously squandered his inheritance. On the other hand, the father was prodigal in that he welcomed his son not as a hired worker, clothed him in the finest array, and threw him a lavish feast. He gave him a new life.

This is when we see the luminosity and purity of God’s love for each of us! His love patiently shines through to heal us of the wounds of sin. His love is steady and ever-burning for each of us. All we need to do is be humble, accept our sinfulness, and swallow our pride. As we open our hearts to God, he also opens his heart to us. Then we dwell again in God’s home—his heart!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

 

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