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14th Sunday of the Year, C

nursing motherWe could easily have missed it! Yes, I mean the text for our reflection this Sunday (14th Sunday, Year C). The 1st reading is that of Isaiah 66:10-14. The book of the prophet Isaiah has exactly 66 chapters and the last one has 24 verses in all. So our reference for this Sunday comes… very late in the book and someone who has gone through all the previous contents could be forgiven to ‘forget’ the very last section. But then, that person would miss… a jewel!

In these days when we are very often reminded of God’s mercy, some preachers like to stress that, God being a Spirit, is not only a male figure – a father – but includes within Itself feminine attributes as well. They assure us that the Bible uses the metaphor of a mother and, at this point, they quote the well known text of Isaiah 49:15: “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast?… Yet, even if these forget I will never forget you.”

This Sunday presents us with the same image and perhaps even stronger. Here, we see God somehow playing with her child! We read: “Her nurslings will be carried and fondled in her lap”. And the text adds: “Like a son comforted by his mother will I comfort you.”

How encouraging, how comforting indeed, and what a forceful correction to our abstract presentations of an almighty distant God. Yes, God is mighty and all-powerful , but the Psalms keep repeating how kind and merciful, tender and compassionate he is (Ps.103; Ps.145).

Jesus best known parable (Lk.15:11-24) says it in a most vivid and convincing way: God is a father who cannot bear seeing his children far from him – yet, he will never force us, oblige us, or impose on us to return to him when we have gone away. God’s way is not that of coercion or threat, he knows only the way of gentle invitation and tender fascination. He knows us too well to attempt anything else!

Source: Image: www.desipainters.com


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