Reflecting on Luke 10: 1-9
Is there anyone you know who has remained a joyful, committed Catholic throughout their lives because they are terrified of hell? I don’t.
Some sociologists note an “axial moment” in the lives of believers. The first stage, represented in many Old Testament texts, and a few New Testament (like today’s gospel) is this: an angry, vengeful God is out to get me, and my whole life must be in service to keeping this scary God happy.
But look how the axis turns in that stunning Isaiah text: “Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts!” (66:11) This is another image of God the sacred scriptures give us: God wants to be like your mom. God wants to be your comforter, your nurturer. Draw near to this God.
And, of course, we have drawn near, and taken huge comfort in the God who loves us personally, who knows our name, who is with us to the end of time.
We are now in the third axial age. We respect and take great notice of the scriptures that warn us of hell. We will not be like those who have the gospel preached to them but turn away. We dread a judgment worse than what happened to Sodom. But we have also internalized, and utterly believed, that God loves us like a mother loves her child. And now we take that joy into the world, remembering Teresa of Àvila:
Christ has no body on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world.
In what ways does the image of God as a nurturer and comforter strengthen your faith?
Kathy McGovern ©2022