Our coming together this week brings us to a place before the very presence of God. For as we approach our God we recognize God’s goodness towards us. Because it is out of God’s goodness and willingness to allow us to be born into his Word of truth. James 1:17&18
God’s desire and willingness for us to born from His Word of truth is crucial as we continue to grow in our understanding of our relationship with God. It is God’s desire and will that we share and be intimately united with Him, through our union to His Word of truth. John 1:1 the prologue of John reminds us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So our sharing and being born from the Word of truth is our being born from the Word of God, Jesus the Divine Word coming forth from the Father. So it is here in the perfect relationship of the Father and Son, that every perfect gift comes from above, coming to us from the Father and His Divine Word of truth, Jesus Christ.
That being true for us, we then are the fruit and truly recipients of the great gift coming from the Father of lights. We find ourselves intricately woven into the fabric that is God’s Word within us because we are born of that very Word. So the crucial understanding is that we find ourselves linked and engulfed in the very Word that is planted in us for our salvation.
All this breakdown of the Letter of James tells us that we more than matter to God, but that we are united to Him in such a way that it is His sole desire for us to be recipients of His Word. The Crucible here is that our reception of God’s Word is not passive. It isn’t simply that we hold out our hand to receive him, but it also meant to move and to impel us to reach out beyond ourselves. In Pope Francis’ letter “Rejoice and be Glad” Gaudete et Exsultate chapter 4 paragraog 135. “God is eternal newness. He impels us constantly to set out anew, to pass beyond what is familiar, to the fringes and beyond. He takes us to where humanity is most wounded, where men and women, beneath the appearance of a shallow conformity, continue to seek an answer to the question of life’s meaning. God is not afraid! He is fearless! He is always greater than our plans and schemes. Unafraid of the fringes, he himself became a fringe (cf. Phil 2:6-8; Jn 1:14). So if we dare to go to the fringes, we will find him there; indeed, he is already there. Jesus is already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, in their troubles and in their profound desolation. He is already there.”
Pope Francis clearly states here in our current context what it means to be a doer of God’s Word not just a hearer.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction” This coming out of ourselves Courageously Living the Gospel is our call to directly meet our neighbors, sisters and brothers, those on the peripheries.
At the end of this month the Pastoral and Finance Councils are being invited to join with the Diocese to embrace the Vision to be courageous in living the Gospel and seeking ways that we can serve those here in the Caslher Heights neighborhood of St. Petersburg.
It is clear that both our union with God through His Divine Word is essential, but also is our service of others and coming out of ourselves and engaging the other that they too might experience a rebirth into the Word of Truth.
Rev. Stephan Brown, SVD Pastor