“But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7)
How unworthy we are to receive this gift, the gift of God’s mercy. God chooses us anyway, and He never stops choosing us. In the midst of our sin, He is already working to bring us back to life with Christ.
I’ve often thought, “Why does God love us so much? Why does He do things that are seemingly irrational in human terms?” We run far, far away—He chases us down and relentlessly pursues us, leaving the 99. We hide in our shame and sin—He comes to rescue us and is the Light that shatters all darkness. God sent His only Son to die for us in the most brutal and physically, emotionally, and spiritually horrifying way. He didn’t have to. He could’ve left us alone in the misery of our sin, saying, “Well, I gave you a chance…” But no. He is always after our hearts, no matter how far we try to shove Him away and no matter how steeped in sin we become. There is no extent to which He won’t go to rescue you.
Why does God forgive us over and over again? Why does He forgive so easily? Well, we can look to today’s Psalm for a simple yet profound answer: “The Lord made us, we belong to Him.” We are God’s beloved sons and daughters. Of course He wouldn’t want to lose us. Of course He would chase after us and do everything He could to give us His grace, hoping that we will ask for mercy and accept His love.
We are unworthy, yet He deems us worthy.
When I was 16, I got into a pretty scary car accident. I was driving down a street in my neighborhood a few blocks from my house, and someone pulled out from a stop sign and hit me. Thankfully, the other driver and I were not seriously hurt. When I called my parents to tell them what had happened, they came running down the street to find me and hugged me tightly. Even though the accident was not my fault, I was afraid they would be upset with me for what happened. Instead, the first words out of their mouths were, “Are you okay?” They spoke with the utmost love and concern. They didn’t care about the car, they just wanted to make sure I was alive and safe.
Brothers and sisters, this is God’s question to us when we fall into sin: “Are you okay? Is My son okay? Is My daughter okay?” How blessed we are that our God is slow to anger and quick to love and forgive. When we ask for His mercy, He is so eager to give it to us. He wants us to be okay.
God doesn’t want to lose us. He doesn’t want His family to stray away and suffer the consequences of sin. Let Him pursue after your heart. Run to Him in the Sacrament of Confession. Don’t delay. Allow Him to give you the immeasurable riches of His grace. We are created for greatness: what steps do you need to take to live that more fully?
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” (St. John Paul II, whose feast is today!)