The First Reading tells us The Lord, the God of their ancestors, persistently sent his messengers to them, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his Prophets, until the wrath of the Lord against his people became so great that there was no remedy. Many think God is all merciful, that when we cry out to him, he will always answer. This is not accurate. God is merciful and he loves us unconditionally. Which is why, in spite of the infidelity of his people, he continued to send his messengers to call them to repentance. He did this, out of his mercy and love. Yet, the people reject his Prophets and it came to a point where the sin is so great that God pulled back his protection from them and left them on their own. This resulted in the destruction of the house of God and the plunder of its contents and finally, the exile to Babylon. God is merciful. God is love, but we are responsible for our actions.
Jesus says this in the Gospel that he did not come to condemn but to save the world. But Jesus continued: this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. God cannot save us without our permission. The Second Reading tells us God who is rich in mercy … when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, for it is by grace you have been saved. We are saved, not by our works, but by the grace of God. St Paul continues: for by grace you have been saved by faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. God saves us. But we need to receive this salvation. This reception or response to his grace is faith. If we reject the salvation God gives us, then we will not be saved.
In this time of pandemic, people call for prayers. Yet, there is very rarely a call to repentance. When we expect God to give us what we ask even if we continue living our life the way we want, we reduce God to something we take out from the closet when we need him and we put back when we do not need him. He becomes our slave and not our Lord.
We are saved by faith, which is seen by believing in Jesus. Believing in Jesus does not mean believing God exists. It does not mean believing Jesus is a goof teacher. It is believing, surrendering, trusting our lives to him, letting him take charge of our lives, letting him rule over our lives. The word for faith in Greek is sometimes translated as believe, trust. When we have faith, we trust in Jesus.
Lord, help me to trust you in a way that I let you rule over me. Take my life and do with it as you will. Let me not reject you Lord but instead, let me surrender to you.