Ephesians 1 is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me of the infinite love of God. Before the world was created, he has given us all spiritual blessing in the heavens so we can be holy and blameless before him. Imagine that! We are not accidents, because God has planned our existence before he created anything. St Teresa of Avila says in her explanation of the Lord’s prayer, that God will leave us rich, he loves us, he will always give us more than we ask. But she gave a few conditions: we must never be insincere with him, we are to be honest with him, to treat him frankly and openly. We come to God as ourselves, like children to their fathers. Paul says this in the first reading: God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ. It is God’s plan that we become his children and this pleases God! She compares God to a king who asks his subject What do you want me to do for you? She continues, in response, we do not tell this king to make us more poor. When we come to God, it is God telling us to ask what we want. So we should not be afraid to come to God and ask him for what we need.
This picture of God seems to contrast with the picture of Jesus in the Gospel, who has harsh words for lawyers of his time. He cursed them and showed them their hypocrisy. Yet, this is an act of love by Jesus, because he wants everyone to be saved. Despite the teaching he did, despite the signs he performed, the lawyers and the leaders still would not believe. Everything God does is done in love and this can be seen as a scolding by Jesus to those who would not listen. Sadly, Luke tells us: when Jesus went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross examine him… lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.
This is what Teresa of Avila warns about, that we need to be sincere, honest and treat God frankly and openly. We need to come as we are, with our faults and sins. The scribes and Pharisees came with their righteousness, thinking they know more than Jesus. Because of this, they could not see who Jesus is.
Teresa said that God is not content in uniting the soul with himself, but he cherishes it, reveals secrets to it, to rejoice in its understanding of what it has gained and in the knowledge which it has of all he has yet to give it. God wants to reveal himself to us and it is our decision that determines whether this happens or not. As the Psalm tells us today: The Lord has made known his salvation. Just as a father is pleased to show things to his children, God delights in showing great things to his children. The question is will I let him.
A final word from Teresa of Avila: You must practice simplicity and humility, for those are the virtues which achieve everything.
Lord, you always reveal yourself and your Father to me. Let me come to you in humility and simplicity. May I be ready to accept you as you are. St Teresa, pray that I may let the Lord show me who he is. Teach me to come to Jesus in sincerity and honesty.