I read an interesting survey once that found that 12% of Americans believe in a “higher power” but not a “personal God.” I’m guessing that these are the folks that would tell you that they are “spiritual but not religious.” What about this notion of a “personal God?” Our first reading today shows us just what that means. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 23, Jesus says, “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.” So, do Catholics go against this by calling their priests Father? Wouldn’t this mean that I cannot even call the man from whose loins I sprung my father? No…Jesus does not want us to attribute the Fatherhood of God to any man.
Is our God, the God of the Bible, a personal God? The answer is a resounding Yes! And today in Isaiah 1 I think we see this very clearly. “Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord.” Have you ever had a spat with your spouse, a friend or perhaps a child? And you felt really bad about it? You just wanted to patch things up. To make sure that things got settled between you. Why? Because you value that relationship too much to let anything get in the way. And so it is with us and God.
You see, God is all about relationship. And what is more personal than relationship? If we view God as some “higher power,” then we totally miss the point. A “higher power” is the kind of “God” that set things spinning in motion and whatever happens to you, well…happens. But that’s not how God is. He cares about you, about every aspect of your life – from emotions to finances to sexuality to everything else about you. And when things get broken, He wants nothing more than to make it better. Is everything alright between you and God these days? If not, I hope you can hear Him calling out to you, “Come, let us set things right.”
Father, thank you for loving us enough to want to set things right. May we draw ever closer to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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