October 19, 2008 29th Sunday Year A

Scripture: Isaiah 45:1-6
Thess 1:1-5
Matt.22:15-21
The Bible shows us that the Jewish people gradually learned about the trueGod.  The thinking 3,000 years ago was that each country had its own God. Asslaves in Egypt, Ra seemed at times stronger than their God!  Then they were freed - God was the God who liberated. In the desert, He cared for them.  But entering Canaan they were tempted to worship Baal, or in Babylon Marduk. But gradually their image of God was becoming clearer.  Today's first reading is unique in the Old Testament. The true God used the pagan king of Babylon, Cyrus, as his instrument of peace and liberation. In other words, there was truly only one, supreme God.
Finally God became human in Jesus to give us the definitive image of God.  He is Abba, Father, we all are his especially loved children - he calls each of us by our own personal name. When we see the gentle, kind heart of Jesus,
we see the gentle, kind heart of the true God.
When I was small my image of God was good, but child-like. As a youth the image changed, as an adult changed again, and also in my 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's 70's. I hope and pray my image of God keeps changing. By 'change', I don't mean 'different'; I mean my image of God became deeper, closer, more loving. St Paul says in I Cor.13:11 : 'When I was a child I thought as a child, but now as an adult I think as an adult'.
This image we have of God is important for our daily life and for our prayer. If god is for us a strict, punishing God our prayer will be full of fear, and of course so will our daily life. If God is the gentle, loving, welcoming, forgiving Abba, our life will have joy, hope and love.
In a living voice Abba says: "You are my child, I call you by name."
Today is mission Sunday: let us share God's gentleness with others.

P.S. The Gospel tells us: A good Christian needs also to be a good citizen.

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