Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! (Luke 13:2)
My view of God growing up was very much the old man in the sky waiting and watching to catch me messing up so He could punish me. Messing up is something I felt like I did constantly. As a child I remember a strong attraction to the hymn, Jesus Remember Me that was sung at Mass during Lent. At the time, I believed the only chance I had of getting to Heaven was by having a moment like the Good Thief had during his last moments on the cross beside Jesus, and getting directly invited by Jesus to enter Paradise.
Since those days of my childhood, I have come to recognize the loving, generous, merciful Abba who longs for the chance to love us as only He can. I now know there is absolutely nothing I could ever do to make Him stop loving me. The incredible gift of this relationship I have with God is one I continue to discover more about each day.
Recently I was reminded of those first beliefs when my daughter was ill with a stomach bug. After several hours of being sick, she asked me, “Mama, did I sin?” At first I thought she meant that she thought being sick was a sin. Then I remembered that just a few days earlier I had talked to her about keeping the fast before receiving the Eucharist. She didn’t want to wait until after Mass to have her waffles!
This incident caused me to reflect more deeply on what image of the Father I am creating for my daughter. When I was getting ready to write this blog, I saw the same thing being discussed with Jesus in a Bible passage. Whose sin caused this man’s blindness? Jesus’ disciples asked. (John 9:2) Like the disciples, we all tend to put an eternal scorecard into God’s hands as if He is seeking to defeat us; therefore, I had to ask myself, “Was I responsible for the way my daughter was feeling? If so, how could I change her view?”
I decided to address it the only way I knew how – by talking it out using the Truth. The Truth is, there is nothing that could make God stop loving us. Just because we as humans think sometimes getting revenge might be the just thing to do, God never does. As Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7) God’s love and mercy are unfailing and inexhaustible. He wants nothing more than to show us the depth of His love. It is out of this love that God chose to give us the Gift of Reconciliation, of turning back to Him when we make a mistake and, like the Prodigal Son, giving us a chance to be greeted with an embrace in His loving arms as He celebrates by blessing us with all He can. If we ever have case to question His love, all we need to do is look at a crucifix in order to remove our doubts.
Abba, Father, please don’t let me ever doubt the magnitude of your Love for me, and let me teach that unwavering trust and faith to all I meet, most especially to my little girl who was Your little girl first.