Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best Friend

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Eclesalia Informativo
May 30, 2012

Matthew 28:16-20

There's an essential statement at the core of the Christian faith in a trinitarian God. God isn't a gloomy and impenetrable being, selfishly closed in on Himself. God is Love and only Love. We Christians believe that in the ultimate mystery of reality, giving meaning and consistency to everything, there is nothing but Love.

Jesus wrote no treatise about God. We never find him expounding doctrine about Him to the Galilean peasants. For Jesus, God isn't a concept, a pretty theory, a sublime definition. God is the best Friend of the human being.

Researchers have no question about a fact picked up by the gospels. The people who listened to Jesus talk about God and saw him act in His name, experienced God as Good News. What Jesus says about God seems something new and good to them. The experience he communicates and spreads seems to them to be the best news they could hear about God. Why?

Maybe the first thing they get is that God belongs to all, not just to those who feel worthy to present themselves before Him in the temple. God isn't tied to a holy place. He doesn't belong to any religion. He isn't the property of the pious who go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to Jesus, "He makes his sun rise on the good and the bad." God doesn't exclude or discriminate against anyone. Jesus invites everyone to trust in Him. "When you pray, say 'Father!'"

With Jesus, they discover that God doesn't just belong to those who approach Him loaded with merit. Before them, He listens to those who beg Him for compassion because they feel like hopeless sinners. According to Jesus, God always goes looking for those who are lost. That's why he feels like such a friend to sinners. That's why he tells them that he "has come to seek and to save what was lost."

They also realize that God doesn't only belong to the wise and the learned. Jesus gives thanks to the Father because He was pleased to reveal to the little ones things that remained hidden from the illustrious. God has fewer problems getting along with simple people than with the erudite who think they know it all.

But it was, without a doubt, Jesus' life, devoted in the name of God to alleviating the suffering of the sick, freeing those possessed by evil spirits, rescuing the lepers from marginalization, offering forgiveness to sinners and prostitutes...that convinced them that Jesus experienced God as the best Friend of human beings, someone who only looks out for our well-being and is only against what harms us. Jesus' followers never doubted that the God incarnated and revealed in Jesus is Love and only Love towards all.

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