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Don’t abuse God’s kindness

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

There’s a saying: “A face that only a mother can love”? But with God, he loves even faces that a mother cannot love.

There’s another saying: “If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.”

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According to a Jewish legend, when God was about to create man, he consulted the angels that stood about his throne.

“Create him not,” said the angel of Justice. “For he will commit all kinds of wickedness against his fellowman; he will be cruel and dishonest and unrighteous.”

The angel of Truth said, “Create him not for he will be false and deceitful to his brothers and sisters and even to You.”

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Then the angel of Mercy stepped forward and said, “Our heavenly Father, create him, for when he sins and turns from the path of right and truth and holiness, I’ll take him tenderly by the hand and speak loving words to him and then lead him back to You.”

And God, following the counsel of the angel of Mercy, created man.

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The story illustrates Christ’s message in the gospel of the 4th Sunday of Lent: “God so loved the world that He gave his only son not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (Jn. 3,16).

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The Old Testament episode in the desert demonstrates this reality. After the exodus from Egypt, returning to Palestine, the Israelites found the way blocked and had to skirt Edom.

The people grumbled against God and Moses about the detour. God punished the people by sending poisonous snakes. But then in his mercy, he commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent and erect it as a standard. The people who were bitten were cured by turning in faith toward the bronze serpent lifted up by Moses (read Numbers 21,8).

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Jesus Himself saw in the lifting up of the serpent as a sign of his own lifting up on the cross. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

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Some of us may think that this over bending image of God depicts him as too soft or weak. Consider corrupt officials, hold-uppers, rapists and murderers abusing His goodness and breaking his commandments.

But that’s the way God loves his creatures.

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The 4th Sunday of Lent is called “Laetare” (Rejoice) Sunday. The reason is that even for the most depraved sinner, there is hope.

On the reverse side: Let’s not abuse the kindness of God. In the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds (read Matthew 13, 24-43) the Lord warns us that the “bad grass” (masasamang damo) will be bundled up and thrown into the fire (hell).
Hence, the gospel today is both a message of HOPE and a WARNING.

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ACTION: God will always forgive you. But strive constantly to overcome your sins and weaknesses.

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INDIGENT SICK. In the spirit of Lenten penance, I am appealing on behalf of indigent sick we are helping like Dante Cabansag who is undergoing hemodialysis and a cancer patient, Stage 3. Also M. Maranga, J. Lopez, Rosanna Cayunda sick of pulmonary ailments.

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For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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