3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 22nd January, 2017

God's Loving Presence

Recently, Pope Francis pleaded with us “do not forsake the gift of being God’s children. We must not sell out to the temptation of worldliness, of living as if God didn’t exist.”

 Children feel safe whenever a parent or guardian are nearby. As long as they can see their father or mother, they feel safe even if they are in a strange place. On the other hand, they can be their own home but if they cannot see a parent or guardian, they can easily become frightened.

The people of Israel had similar feelings about God. The one thing for which they longed was to be in the presence of God. Provided God was dwelling among them they felt safe. They saw the temple as the visible sign of God's presence. Indeed, to enter the temple was to enter the very presence of God - to savour the sweetness of the Lord. As long as they could see the temple standing strong and secure in their midst they felt safe.

In the fullness of time, God came to dwell among us in the person of Jesus, the new temple of God. Then Jesus called his followers like Peter and Andrew, James and John, to take his presence to others.

The core of his message, then as now, was amazingly simple. God is very close to us. He is indeed, within us. He is in everybody who touches our lives. An awareness of God's presence at every hand's turn is the beginning of holiness. Sin is the stifling of such awareness. Repentance is the willingness to let God into the little details of our daily lives.

Today there are many people who can-not see the loving presence of God in their lives, who are overcome by fear as they feel that God has abandoned them. May we who experience the presence of the risen Christ in our Eucharistic celebration carry the divine presence to them through our love. By seeing the Lord's goodness in our loving them, may they take heart and find hope in the Lord.

A father complained to the Rabbi that his son had forsaken God. ‘What, Rabbi shall I do?’ ‘Love him more than ever,’ was the Rabbi’s reply.

Fr Kevin O'Shea C.M.