Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
1 Maccabees 2:15-29
God the Lord has spoken and summoned the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting. (Psalm 50:1)
Try to stretch your mind around this: a single galaxy can contain trillions of stars. And right now, billions of galaxies are in motion around us.
These celestial communities pirouette through the heavens to the tune of gravity and other natural laws established by God. It’s an immensely complex universe—yet it’s all somehow ordered by the Lord! To paraphrase the psalmist, “When God speaks, the universe listens!”
Of course, stars don’t really have a mind of their own. We do, though. And today’s readings are a down-to-earth reminder that not all of creation is moving to God’s rhythm. In 1 Maccabees, we see the zealous family of Mathias following God into the desert, while other Hebrews are following a pagan king into apostasy. In Luke, we watch as Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because many there hadn’t yet recognized and accepted him as the Son of God.
Out of all creation, we have been graced with the peculiar gift of a free will. It’s peculiar because this gift actually gives us the ability to choose to ignore the voice of our own Creator. But as peculiar as it is, our free will is also an incredible privilege. Out of all creation, we can knowingly and freely say yes to God. And if Jesus weeps over those who are rejecting him, he also rejoices and sings over the ones who embrace him.
“This is love, that we walk according to his commandments” (2 John 1:6). We have opportunities every day, even this very moment, to do just that. We can choose to open ourselves up to the Lord and listen carefully as he speaks to us. In fact, you’re probably doing that right now as you read this meditation, so you’re off to a good start! Then, as we sense the gentle prompting of his Spirit during the day, we can choose again to say yes, and obey.
God will never take advantage of you. He has given you a free will, and he will never force you to follow him. Instead, he whispers in your ear, urging you to place your trust in him. Try to hear his voice today. Use your free will to listen and to follow him.
“Lord Jesus, I give you my yes because I love you.”
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne