This is a question that has been repeated since the time of the Exodus. It seems to be the human response to God’s invitation to be in a covenant relationship. Throughout salvation history there is the cycle of our human frailty,(individual and/or communal sin), some tragedy that turns people back to God, God’s great mercy and abundant gifts, human complacency and the cycle begins again.
This is the pattern repeated over and over again in the Hebrew Scriptures. In an attempt to break the pattern and awaken human kind to the extravagance of God’s love and mercy Jesus became human and lived among us. Yet even the disciples and the people who witnessed all of the miracles and listened to the parables and teachings of Jesus didn’t get it. How often do we hear Jesus ask them, “Do you still not understand?”
Now over two thousand years later we seem to be asking the same question. All of our scientific discoveries, expanding technologies and globalization have not helped us to really see or believe. In fact when I look at the ways humans have ravaged our earth, slaughtered millions in “Religious” wars, created refugee camps that imprison two and three generations, the way immigrants, veterans and the marginalized are still ignored, abused or abandoned I wonder if we have really learned anything about God’s meaning and message.
The hope I can hang onto is the constancy and unshakable and unconditional love of God. God listened to the whining of the Israelites and sent quails and manna to feed them in the desert. Jesus fed the 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread. We continue to be nourished by the Eucharist. We can study the bible, listen to great homilies, learn from past and current theologians. But do our daily lives reflect God’s love, mercy and compassion?
I believe God is asking each of us, “What sign/actions do you perform, that I may see that you believe in ME?”
]Jan Ginzkey, OSB