05 December 2012

God's love poured out

He said to them, "Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's.

This "living parable" of Jesus responding to the "authorities" when they tried to trap him about whose authority should reign on earth is a profound one.  What are the "things that are the emperor's"? And what are "the things that are God's"?

I have been reflecting quite a bit on the person of Mary this Advent, in part because in the daily reflections by Richard Rohr (which are available online), he has given his readers a robust and deep and wide view of Mary's acceptance of the gift from God.  Her openness and willingness to be open to God's grace and God's presence in her life and in her own body is one that is a profound one.  Her acceptance of God's gift in her life is a model for us.  This time of year, of course, is awash with the notion of gifts, however, the true gift is the life that has been given to us by God.

What are "the things that are God's"?  Perhaps the question should be better asked, "what are not the things that are God's"?  For all that we have, and all that we are, come from God.  It is all gift, and our faith helps us to see that this gift is from a loving God who has lived among us, has known our very lives, and who is not only above us, but also beside us, and is also within us.  Christ came so that he might reside in us and we in him.  This gift from God means that we should be grateful, that our lives should be rich with gratitude.  Of course, life is not always easy, not always smooth, but God is with us, God loves us, and will never let us go.  God's love is always poured out upon us.

When we remember God's gift to us, the whole interaction between Jesus and the "authorities" seems comically crazy.  When we enter into this abode of giftedness, this sense that all is from God, there is not much at all that we need to "render to Caesar"at all.  Our allegiance is to God, and God is a God of love, with gifts abundant.


Abundant and loving God, help me to recognize that life itself, and all that I have is from you, and that your love and care for us abounds at all times, in all places, help me to recognize the gift, and to live in gratitude and acceptance.  Amen.

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