In today's first reading from Amos 3 and 4, we read about crime and punishment. More in a moment. In our Gospel reading from Matthew 8, the disciples find themselves in a storm on the sea, and they awaken Jesus, who calms the storm.
"You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your crimes." These are the words of the LORD from the prophet Amos. To some, this may sound extremely contradictory. After all, if God favors his people, why would he punish them? Wouldn't he just forgive them and move on?
God loves you. Full stop. And God is a forgiving God. So why would he punish someone he loves and forgives? If you are a parent, or if you had parents, you already know the answer to this. Love and punishment, forgiveness and punishment are not mutually exclusive. Quite the contrary. When crimes are committed, there can be love and forgiveness. There should also be punishment. Otherwise, are there lessons learned? When punishment is meted out, let us accept God's love and forgiveness, and sin no more.
Father, we know that we are deserving of punishment for our crimes (sins). We thank you for being a loving Father, always desiring what is best for us. Amen.
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