God or Church

It was pointed out to me that I put the Church and what it says before everything. Upon reflection, I don’t think that’s quite accurate. I put God first. If the Catholic Church were to collapse and disappear tomorrow, I would still put God first. When I am faced with the fact of He who simply is, I can’t get around, past, over or under Him/Her. When people say I can’t prove God, I reply that they can’t disprove Him and that the arguments for His being Him are more convincing than those against. God places these before me and says: “Choose. Choose to Be, to live; choose truth.” God is and God has shown me who He is in Scripture and primarily in the person of Jesus Christ, though sometimes that’s a bit hazy and Jesus has to remind me have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me…? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. [Jn 14:9] [1]

From Scripture I learned that He has been incredibly, literally, loving and merciful to me, considering how I treated Him. He is the indulgent owner who keeps sending servant after servant to collect his rent from me, my obedience and worship in thanksgiving for all He has given me and my sacrifices for all the evil I have imposed on His creation; substitute “me” or “we” for “they” and Jesus has it right: one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. [Mt 21:35-37, 39]

I always am amazed that Jesus does not judge the tenants immediately but instead asks the chief priests and the elders [Mt 21:23], What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?[Mt 21:40] Just as Nathan condemned David by his answer [2 Sam 12:7], Jesus pronounces the exact same punishment on the priests and elder as they pronounced on the tenants: The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.[Mt 21:43]

But notice that the way this happens in God’s providence is that His Son is actually crucified by us tenants while we were still sinners [Rom 5:8], turns the tables on us and saves us by that very action and then, to top it off, raises Jesus from the dead and us with Him. Yes, I am forgiven for Jesus knows I knew not what I did. [Lk 23:34]

That’s the God I follow, the God who forgives, who comforts, who inspires, who directs, whose footprints, when we walk, are only those of Him, the Good Shepherd, when I have wandered and need to be carried back home.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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