After years of ignoring the commandments, Israel is invaded and conquered. Her people are taken as slaves and foreigners inhabit her land. God had sent prophets to remind them of their covenant with God…but the people had ignored the prophets. They preferred their own will to the will of God and tried to be their own masters. Then, the Babylonians invaded, and sacked and looted the city. Only after several decades—indeed, generations—of captivity in a foreign land, were the people allowed to return to their land.
Paul’s letter reminds us that God saved us even when we were sinners. Everything done by the Creator is wonderful and awesome, including each one of us! We are created by God and He loves us like no one else can. No matter what we have done wrong, or what we didn’t do that we should have, God loves us. He fills us with grace and blessings; but is this gift from God ignored, left unopened? Do we, like the Israelites in the first reading, pretend to know better and believe we are in control of our fate?
This Lent, let God’s grace work in you. Let it be the gift you need to reconcile with another, help a friend in need, grow in knowledge of God’s love for you. Then you can live and act as His representative, demonstrating that you are willing to share the gift of grace you have received.
Jesus came to save sinners and show them the way to the Father. He came to let us know it was okay to be human, to make mistakes, to mess up. If we have faith in God, then we shall inherit the Kingdom. Good works done without faith are just good works. When we understand that the good we do for each other, our church, and our world is done out of gratitude for the love we have experienced, then we show that we are true disciples. Living in and through the grace of God is our baptismal calling.
Doing is only part of the answer. Believing and participating in God’s work is where we find our salvation.