Sunday’s Second Reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (using the B Cycle of readings) deserves to be read slowly and meditatively … it is an amazing tribute to God’s love of we human beings. It very much fleshes out what Jesus tells Nicodemus in the Gospel: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
Basically, Paul says that every single human being – without exception – is a special handiwork of God, created to do good. Whenever any human being does good, whenever any human being acts in a life-giving way towards others, that person is being motivated to do that good by the grace of God. Every single good act, or word, or thought that arises within me is the work of grace … it is not something I do, but something that God does in me and through me.
And it’s not just me. Included in this grace are atheists and devout Christians, as well as Muslims, Jews, Hindus and voodoo practitioners. It includes gays, lesbians and straight people. Old and young. Black, yellow, white, and brown-skinned people. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. It includes law-abiding citizens and criminals, Iranians and Taliban, illegal as well as legal immigrants. And yes, it even includes President Obama and Mr. Limbaugh!!!
No matter what we may think of others, the fact remains that they are all God’s handiwork. No matter what we may think of ourselves, we are God’s handiwork. No matter how much or how little good we do, it is our belief that all good comes from God.
Now, does everyone buy fully into that? No – as the Gospel says, some prefer darkness to light. But even those we judge as the worst of people are still able to do good to others, and to that extent God’s work is active in them.
Give the gift of God’s smile to someone today!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.