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Seeking reconciliation is inextricably linked with a will to understand
February 23, 2021
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
With a year of division, blame, anger, and fear trailing behind us, I find comfort in these words from Isaiah. I am reminded that God is relentless in seeking our reconciliation with each other and, ultimately, with Him through our abiding faith in His Word. That God will show mercy to the unrighteous and abundantly pardon their wickedness is what we expect of God, what we want for ourselves…and, especially in today’s readings, what we are called to do in relation to each other.
How easy it is to fall into the rut of blame, judgement and fear when confronted with things we do not understand. “Jesus understands” is a repeated mantra in the current book* we are studying in our Adult Faith Formation sessions. As I consider today’s readings, it strikes me that seeking reconciliation is inextricably linked with a will to understand. When we will ourselves to understanding each other rather than overpowering each other, it is much easier to listen to and truly ‘get’ another point of view, to possibly change or adapt our own thinking, to let go of the anger or pain that fuels an argument, or to forgive a wrong even when we know the other may not care.
Understanding, forgiveness, and love take strength and faith in God’s purpose for us. While that purpose may seem overwhelming or impossible at times, today’s scripture suggests that it happens in small, steady ways…like the rain or snow that come down from heaven, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. As we steadily build our spiritual capacity for understanding and reconciliation, I believe we feel the pleasure of God and begin to accomplish His purpose.
* Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus, by Fr. James Martin