February 19 Leviticus 25-26 & Romans 9
Our God wishes us to care for the earth as much as we need to care for ourselves. The Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee Year call us to acknowledge that all is a gift from God even the land we walk on. We are to treat one another justly. God reminds them about not worshipping idols. It speaks about erect a carved image or a sacred stone as an idol. Some people accuse us as Catholic of worshipping idols because we have images in our Church. We do have statues and crucifixes, but we do not pray to them. We do not think that image is a god. They are just images. We are human beings with five senses. To have an image of Jesus on the Cross powerfully lets us know what he endured for us. To have statues of Mary and Joseph and or one of the saints is to place a hero before our eyes to remind us that we can work with the grace of Jesus like these saints did in their time. We do not pray to saints. We ask them to join in intercessory prayer with us as they are before God in heaven. For the Israelites, the reward of obedience was a long life and great crops and riches. As they did not believe in the resurrection and eternal life the reward for faithfulness was the best the world had to offer. As Catholic Christians, we know that through Christ we have eternal life and as we respond to Christ faithfully we can with firm hope look forward to resurrection. The sign for a Christian of a blessed life was not physical but spiritual. We live in a reality of peace and love as gifts from Jesus and his Father through the Holy Spirit. To know these gifts in our hearts and to see them all around us. That is a blessing from God. Everyone has troubles in this world unlike the Israelites we do not believe that God punishes us here on earth. For the Israelites, God was the source of blessings and curses. Other peoples around them had many gods, a god for good and a god for evil. Israel only had one God therefore good, and evil must both come from the one and only God. Our faith is that God is the God of love and bad things happen because bad things happen in this world. If we fail to live the life God calls us we may find the that eternal life is not so heavenly!!! If we fail, we have also been given away to accept redemption through Jesus Christ. Even the Israelites were given a way out of their evil hearts, for God said, “Then, when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac; and also my covenant with Abraham I will remember. . . Yet even so, even while they are in their enemies’ land, I will not reject or loathe them to the point of wiping them out, thus making void my covenant with them; for I, the LORD, am their God. I will remember for them the covenant I made with their forebears, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.”
Paul in Romans chapter nine echoes God’s desire for all of Israel to obey and know Christ. Know that we cannot earn heaven it is a grace given by Jesus through his crucifixion for our sins. We on our part are to seek his mercy when we find ourselves in sin. For he is merciful and the scriptures say, “down to the thousandth generation” in other words forever. Trust that love and forgiveness. Live that love today and if you fail at some point seek Christ's forgiveness, so tomorrow you can again live that love.