16th Sunday Year A
July 20, 2014


I can never claim to be like God … no … not by any stretch of the imagination! “There is no god besides [him] who has the care of all …” So says the first reading, to which I heartily agree. He is clear about justice. He is master of might. But He is a God of clemency of heart, not just clarity of mind.

I can never claim to be a model pray-er. I often mumble, if not ramble, through the time set aside for prayer. I do not even know what to pray for, on occasion. But God, like no other, in and through the Holy Spirit, actually – fortunately! – prays for me, and “comes to the aid of my weakness.”

I can never claim to be patient like God is … He allows weeds to grow alongside the wheat. He even “sleeps with the enemy” and allows him the freedom to deny Him. Clarity in terms of justice with might does not take away God’s compassion matched with clemency and inexhaustible mercy.

But I sometimes do wish I were like God! For life in this world and everything associated with it, sorely pushes my clemency, mercy and patience to the limits. I have little patience, for example, with leaders who love to call themselves “honorable” but who do patently dishonorable things. Men could be cruel to fellowmen, as some wise philosopher of old once wrote: “Homo homini lupus” (Man is wolf to fellow man). Could that man who pulled the trigger and downed an airliner with 295 people on board really have no clemency at all? Could any one, in the name of ideology and in the name of the group he claims to represent really forego all clarity and compassion and resort to mass murder, and still rejoice that he did it?

Here is a telling lesson for me, for you … for everyone. I am not god, but like you, I believe in a personal God! But you and me who believe may not be godly, and this, my friend, is the big problem. We can proclaim one thing and live quite apart and different from what we claim we hold onto. There is a gnawing gap and a glaring mismatch between what we say we believe and we actually do. Right worship is, oftentimes, not accompanied by right behavior.

Here is a piece of good news for you and, most especially, me. And the good news is this. God cares. God loves. God is mighty, yes, but He is master, too, of leniency and clemency. God cares enough to even help up to pray “in sighs and groans that words cannot express.” God is patient, loving and kind enough to allow weeds to grow alongside the wheat. He even allows evil to triumph temporarily, so that good might come out in the end.

There is evil in the world. And we don’t have to go around looking for someone to blame all the time. We, too, by allowing ourselves to be co-opted into joining “sinful solidarity,” can unwittingly be instrumentalized by the evil one and thus, constitute what we described last week as “secondary evil.”

But in the end, God’s might triumphs. At the end of the day, God’s mercy wins and his justice is done for all the world to see. God Himself goes in solidarity with men and women, with the “Spirit coming to the aid of our weakness.”

God’s love triumphs and God’s clemency, characterized by clarity and compassion, challenges us all. Though mired in so much impatience and impulsiveness, we learn what it means to be like unto God, every step of the way, one step at a time, in all days, in all ways, and for always. We learn to be like unto God, a God like no other!