In today’s first reading, St. Paul urges the community of Ephesus to get back to the reality of what it was like to be children. In the same way we are encouraged to be imitators of God, as children of God, living in love. The characteristics needed for this way of life are stated in his opening lines: kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
Our response in today’s Psalm repeats this message and urges us to ‘Behave like God as his very dear children.’ Knowing that we are children of God – that we are made in God’s very image and likeness, that through Christ we become adopted children of God – knowing this and having faith in this should delight the depths of our hearts and free us from our fears, anxieties, insecurities, lack of imagination, idleness, and all of the endless array of effects that tend to come with adulthood. Our ability to be free-spirited, forgiving, compassionate, kind, and loving begin to erode as we experience the pain and challenges of this world. The message is clear today – live as children, children of God.
And what is at stake if we don’t? Well, for starters we could be missing out on the presence of the Reign of God here on earth just as the leader of the synagogue does in today’s Gospel. We often get so caught up in the rules and the ways of being proper which become part of who we are as we grow up. We fail to see the presence of the divine and sacred that is all around us and often right in front of us. We also miss opportunities to continue building the Reign of God that, while already present in the love and kindness of humanity, is still yet to be fulfilled in its full potential.
The crippled woman in today’s gospel stands up and glorifies God through the grace of Jesus’ actions. The greatest possible tragedy of forgetting we are children of God is that we are missing out on our own precious opportunities to glorify God.
Therefore, let us behave like God as his very dear children.
- Tyler Wessman served in Honduras as a Passionist Volunteer from 2007-2008. He recently earned his Master of Divinity from Boston College and currently teaches theology at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, MA.