Wednesday, March 18, 2015

“We must learn that when people devalue any one Life, they devalue all Life.”

Hearing her unborn baby’s heartbeat “was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life.” – Beyonce (American singer)

Scripture Text: (IS 49:8-15)
Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Today’s response to the psalm at Mass –The Lord is gracious and merciful– may sound to some like an abstract theological statement that says something ethereal about God, but does not quite land on our human experience. Fortunately we have all witnessed a mother’s love for her child and today’s first reading noted above from Mass uses this experience to help the response to the psalm land on something very concrete: Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child in her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. (Is 49:8-15)

Our culture has managed to discolor this image and indeed to question its validity today. Our laws have declared it legal for a mother not only to forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child in her womb, but actually to destroy it, which is a tragically paradoxical way of not forgetting the child in her womb. Not that every mother who destroys the child in her womb is conscious of such injustice, because our culture has made a great effort to make sure that such awareness does not interfere with her decision. So it is not for us to judge the individual person and indeed today’s gospel reading reminds us that the Father has given all judgment to the Son. (Jn 5:17-20)

But are the rest of us aware of God’s unconditional mother-like love for us? Are we even capable of such awareness, when we go through difficult and painful moments in our lives? In an ideal world that awareness should even be easy. But we live in a real world and we are human beings, not human should-beings. It is perfectly natural and understandable to feel abandoned by a seemingly distant God in such moments. However feelings, which do affect us, do not really define who we are and I submit that in calmer moments, when the pain is not present, we can be restored by God to the awareness of God’s love for us, an awareness that will always remain a gift. A gift we need to pray for.

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