daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Monday, 5th Week of the Year, February 07, 2011
Gen. 1:1-19, Ps. 103, Mark 6:53-56

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

So begins the Bible. The first verse of the Bible, the revealed word of God, teaches us that God is different from his creation, that he is intelligent, personal, all-powerful, and that he created the world and all that is in it, including man. Today when we are aware of the religions of Asia-Hinduism and Buddhism-this revelation is very important for us. The Bible teaches that there is a God, that God exists, and that there is only one God, not many. It furthermore teaches that God is distinct from his creation and from us, that he is personal, not impersonal, and that he is intelligent, not just an unintelligent power pervading all things. We also see that we are not God or part of God, and that the sum of all that exists is also not God, although God is present everywhere.

The goal of our life then is not to realize that all is one and that we are God or part of God, but rather to enter into a relationship of love with God, who is a separate being, completely distinct from us. We are to enter into union with God, a union which is a relationship of love between two distinct, intelligent persons. In love, God created us for this, to love him, and so that he could love us.

Sin separated us from God, but God sent us his only Son Jesus Christ so that God could justly forgive our sins, so that we could once again enter into a loving union with God. On the cross, Christ suffered our punishment, due for our sins, so that we would not have to suffer it, so that God could justly forgive us, as is fitting for God, who is justice itself. God's way of exercising justice shows his mercy, for God himself, in the person of his only Son, suffered our just death sentence for our sins in place of us. In doing this, he frees us from the burden and sadness of guilt, which is our greatest suffering. He frees us from this suffering by the merits of the death of his Son on the cross. Thus we can walk in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4) in the light of his resurrection as new men (Eph. 4:22-24) and new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

Since God exists, is personal, intelligent, and all-powerful and since he created us distinct from himself so that we might love him and unite ourselves to him in love and since he sent us his only Son, incarnate only once for the entire world to justly forgive our sins, we should serve him with all our heart (Mark 12:30), without any division, and live in union with him. We see through creation the goodness and beauty of God. But then to progress spiritually, we must renounce the pleasures of creation in order not to divide our heart among them. This is the only way to grow spiritually. It is to renounce the world that monks live in deserts, mountains, or monasteries. There they can live for God alone without distraction, living for one master only (Matt. 6:24) and having only one treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). Thus do they renounce all else to obtain the buried treasure and the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:44-46). To grow spiritually, all must imitate this way of living, each according to the way God leads him.


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