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May 29, 2013
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Who Is The God We Believe In?
by Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M.

In his lifetime, Jesus’ mission was not about building himself up. He came to love and to save every human being. And he would do that no matter what the cost—even death on the cross. He worked all of his public life to show how much God loved everyone—including those rejected by the religious leaders who were convinced God couldn’t love people who broke the law.

Now we have to translate those truths into our own lives. Many are confused by fears and doubts about God’s love. “If I’ve sinned, then God does not love me.” False! God is love, and he never stops loving his children. God can’t do anything else but love—that’s how he is defined in Scripture.

At the same time, we have an obligation to seek, love, and serve God, as well as our neighbor. Even with all that, God gives his love and care. There is no human who responds perfectly. There is no person who has not needed to be redeemed—no person for whom Jesus did not die.

Why Do We Sin?

If God loves us, why do we sin? It’s because we are weak and wounded. What mother stops loving her child just because he or she is disobedient? Moms don’t love in order to be loved. Moms just love! It is the best—though imperfect—human image we have of God’s love for his children.

Love is the reason God is always with us on our earthly journey. Love is the reason Godprovides us with the guidance of grace to help us live the way the Gospel calls us to live. In other words, God is always on our side.

God Is On Our Side

The poorest image we can have of God is that of a stern, angry judge sitting on a bench high above us with a gavel in hand, reading over our good and bad deeds. That’s called “bench-judgment.” It’s human judgment—which is unreliable.

Make no mistake about it: God is not weak or wishy-washy. God knows what sin is. But God is with us, and he will do whatever he can to help us. The one thing God cannot and will not do is force anyone to love him.

Love cannot be forced. But God cannot be fooled. God is the truth.

Friar Jack's Inbox
Readers respond to Friar Jack Wintz's May E-spiration, Musing: A Pope Who Mirrors the Values of St. Francis

Dear Friar Jack: Thank you so much for writing the e-newsletter on Pope Francis and his love of the poor. I loved it! Gemma

Dear Friar Jack: Thank you for a marvelous view of our Church today. It’s an easy ride all the way through your article. Max

Dear Friar Jack:
Thank you for your wonderful truth about our new Pope Francis! We really need someone like him to lead us away from the selfishness and pride that have overtaken the United States today in so many ways! Jolie

Dear Gemma, Max, and Jolie: Thanks for your kind and positive responses to my E-spiration regarding Pope Francis. May God watch over and bless you and Pope Francis! Peace always! Friar Jack

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