Sunday, September 18, 2011

God's High and Heavenly Ways

The Old Testament reading for today (25th Sunday of Ordinary Time) is taken from Isaiah 55:6-9:

“[6]Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
[7] let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
[8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
[9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Often verses 8-9 are quoted referring to how God’s ways and thoughts are beyond comprehension for us. This is certainly true, because God is infinitely greater than we are. But what these verses call us to is not a resignation that God is incomprehensible; but rather they call us to action – to seek to know God’s ways and God’s thoughts, and then to shape our lives by them.
This is affirmed by the preceding verses where Isaiah exhorts us to seek the Lord while there is still opportunity. He calls for the wicked to forsake their wicked ways and the unrighteous to forsake their unrighteous thoughts; and instead to pursue God’s ways and God’s thoughts.

When the Prophet refers to God’s ways and thoughts as being as high as the heavens above the earth in comparison to our ways and thoughts, he is speaking about the purity and holiness of God’s ways compared to our own ways, which are often tainted with sin.
In other words, what the Prophet is calling for is repentance – a forsaking of wicked ways and thoughts and a turning to pursuing the holy ways and thoughts of God. Isaiah is calling us to forsake our earthly way of thinking and life so that we can attain to God’s heavenly way of thinking and life. St. Paul echoed this in His call for us to set our minds on “things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:1-2).

Humanly speaking, this is impossible. But God has not left us without hope. With Him all things are possible (Matt 19:26). Isaiah tells us that when we turn to God in this way, He will have mercy on us and He will abundantly pardon.

Furthermore, God has also given us the Sacraments. When we receive the Sacraments in faith, especially the Blessed Eucharist, we receive the grace to grow in His ways and thoughts.

The Sacraments are no mere empty sign. When we realise that in the Sacraments we are receiving Christ Himself, it is then that we experience the power of the Resurrection – the power of God to conform us to the image of Christ (Phil 3:10).

No comments:

Post a Comment