Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Today is Halloween.  I have always loved Halloween.  And, since becoming Catholic many years ago, I have come to love it more. In what often seems like such a mundane life, Halloween reminds us of our dramatic struggle between good and evil; between life and death.  Celebrating Halloween can help us strip away the false sentimentality of our culture's religiousity because on display before us is the horrifying disfigurement that our humanity incurs when we pay homage to anything other than the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The haunting stories that we hear often relate what easy prey we are to the evil that inhabits the world.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 
and with fear and trembling stand; 
ponder nothing earthly-minded, 
for with blessing in his hand, 
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

What gets lost in so many modern Halloween celebrations is hope.  Hope that can penetrate the darkness of this world; hope that there is a power that can break the chains that bind us; hope that the disfiguring effects of sin and suffering can be healed and reformed. Hope that we can endure in the midst of a depraved and darkened world without being consumed by it. That hope is Jesus Christ, who took on our human flesh, faced evil in all its ferocity and defeated it!

King of Kings, yet born of Mary, 
as of old on earth he stood, Lord of lords, 
in human vesture, in the body and the blood; 
he will give to all the faithful his own self for heavenly food.

The struggle is real, the enemy is real and there is real danger, but we are not alone.  Christ is in us and He is victorious, and His Light penetrates every darkness -- yes, even yours, even mine --every darkness.  Without that hope, without Christ, Halloween becomes a celebration of evil, and that, my friends, is hell!

Rank on rank the host of heaven spreads its vanguard on the way, 
as the Light of light descendeth from the realms of endless day, 
that the powers of hell may vanish, 
as the darkness clears away.

But no, it is not so!!  We know there is hope for all those zombies walking dead in sin; hope for those who keep finding themselves opening windows and inviting in the vampires of temptation to bind them under their evil authority; hope for those who have had their identities as children of the Father debased and diverted and used against them and others!

At His feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence, as with ceaseless voice they cry:
 Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Lord Most High!

So be not afraid to meet with all those scary zombies, vampires and werewolves!  Be sober and aware of those ghosts, goblins and demons!  Be calm and confidently  courageous in the face of death! Have faith and venture forth with adoration in your hearts for the One who conquers all evil! Allow His light to shine forth for all those who are too enmeshed in darkness to know how to be released!

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Happy All Hallow's Eve!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Show Me the Path to Life

“You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” (Psalm 16.11 NAB)

A Reflection by Sharon Nelsen

In my younger years, I frequently prayed that God would show me my path to life.  I prayed, thinking God would show me a numbered path, like “Walkway #38,” and even put me on it, just as He had set the planets in orbital paths.  Later, I believed that it was my job to find the right path.  Once I found it, (because there could only be one right one) I knew I would have peace. I would be able to move ahead in my life’s journey with confidence— I am on the (legally) right path!

God is always challenging me to grow up; to move beyond legalism, literalism and its easy answers.  Jesus’ words in Matthew 7.14, affect me: “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.  And those who find it are few.”  But somewhere in my thinking a wisp wonders if the Divine One is playing some kind of game with me, having selected MY path and now is watching closely to see if I find it.  What kind of image of God is that?

It is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, my patron and good friend who bumbled a bit finding his path to life.  I think about him, his various paths, and write:

Well-worn is the path of suffering
Thorny is the path of doubt
Delightful is the path of praise
Challenging is the path of justice
Wearying is the path to peace
Joyful is the path to wholeness, to holiness
Smooth is the path to acceptance of God’s Good Way

I recall from years ago the words of a woman in our faith-sharing group:  “You know, sometimes we think that God is saying, ‘I wonder if she will find the path I have picked out for her?’  But, I think the truth is that God is looking at our lives and asking, ‘I wonder which path she will choose out of all of the many options before her?’”

I think about how I looked at the choices our children made as emerging adults.  When one declared a triple major upon entering university, I thought, ‘Now, that’s a challenge.’  Yet, I respected his right to choose his path even as I wondered about his choice. 

We can be certain that God knows the life-giving path for us in each situation in our lives.  We can be equally certain that God respects our free will, the God-given freedom to choose that the Deity will not take away-- even if we make it harder on ourselves, even if we are setting ourselves up for failure, even if we don’t do it right.

One of the most difficult challenges in our walk to become adult Christians, mature followers of Jesus, the Master Teacher, is the act of choosing.  It is much easier if someone tells us what to do.  Why?  Because now it is not our responsibility—we are just doing what we have been told.  And if we are told by an ordained clergy person -- all the better, for now it’s someone else’s fault if things go wrong (as we intend to explain to God on the day of judgment).

My pre-Vatican II religious formation reflected the times – it was the adult’s job to tell us what to do:  The doctor told us what we needed to know about our bodies; the teacher told us what we needed to study and learn; the priest told us what we needed to know about God, and our parents told us everything else we needed to know--except about sex. I am grateful for the healthy, foundational formation of my childhood that existed because a wiser, experienced generation told me what to do.  The wounding began when the being told didn’t stop.  Guidance became a method of control that hampered growth and abandoned us not only to figure out how to choose, but to assimilate the fact that we had the right and the duty to choose.  That process of accepting choice, especially in religious matters, took many years of struggle.  In order to move healthily into the adult arena of making real choices and taking responsibility for them, we need awareness—the conscious examination of our childish ways, thoughts and behaviors.  Wise guidance in that process, especially in learning to hear the word of God within, is not only helpful, but necessary to nurture our growth as a mature people of God.

One day, while praying about this dilemma in my theological thinking (which at the time only the rebels seemed to be addressing in our Church) I heard God say to me:  “Sharon, the pope has responsibility for pope things; the pastor has responsibility for parish things; and Sharon has responsibility for Sharon things.” 

Well, that was a welcome relief and, yet now I had something else to ponder:  Exactly what are my things?  Fortunately, by that time I had acquired some tools (searched for diligently by seeking out mature guidance) that helped me recognize and honor questions arising from within.  Those tools were prayer, contemplation, studying God’s Word, sharing my real life situations with a listening faith community, reflecting on what was life-giving in my day’s events, and, learning to recognize manifestations of God’s Power and Presence in a word of knowledge, a dream, or through a special anointing.

I looked at my domain --the “things” God had given me: family, friends, neighbors, communities of believers, resources, talents, skills, a healthy body and mind, an education, political freedom, opportunities, inspirations and, most importantly, the Holy Spirit, empowerment to choose what is good, what is life-giving in my domain--for immediate situations and for the long journey.

I began to grasp the narrow way as very specific to my life.  
Preceding Jesus’ words about the narrow way, is his proclamation that “the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.”  (Matthew 7.13 NAB)    Those words summarized what we did as teenagers-- we sought to discover life by grouping on a wide road with our peers.  We wanted to be grown up and we thought the best way to accomplish that was to swarm together.  We were quite concerned about appearances, our possessions, how we were compared to our peers and what those peers thought of us, and, we tended to discount any input (especially the unasked for variety) of wisdom from our elders or ages past.  It was a wide and crowded road.  If we didn’t step off of it as we progressed through our teen years, putting the childish behaviors behind us, we could not step into maturity.  Rather, we morphed into a kind of empowered teenager with enough religion to tinge our selfish desires with pious thoughts and guilt without actually transforming them.    

The seeds of many behaviors planted in childhood are good seeds, but like all seeds, they have to mature into the fruitful plant.  For example, when we were children, we often felt sorry for another’s plight.  It was our response to seeing hurt.  That is a seed, a beginning.  But if the same response persists into adulthood, it ends up diminishing self and others, labeling all as helpless victims.  Those seeds of caring that began as feeling sorry for someone need to grow into the mature Christian gift of compassion, a gift that focuses on the person, not on the circumstances.  Compassion strengthens the giver and the receiver; it communicates and shares love through appropriate assistance, aware of each person’s struggle and the challenge to grow in the midst of difficult and challenging situations.  Compassionate Christians trust in God and in every person’s ability to make conscious choices within the milieu of grace without diminishing the person who is suffering.

God asks us to be grown-up Christians and shows us how to get there, asking only our cooperation in the process.  God gives us Jesus, who sets us free and heals our crushed spirits; God sends us the Holy Spirit to empower us and enlighten us so that we are able to recognize our options and to make informed choices; God gives us each other in the Church that He promises to be with until the end of time;  God entrusts us to make choices that are life-giving for us, for each other, and for our world. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Call You Friends

A reflection on John 15:15 
By Sharon Nelsen

“Let us rejoice and be glad for God has saved us,” was going through my mind.  I remembered, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”  (John 3.17).  I recalled Jesus telling us, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.  (John 10.9)

I wondered:
·         What have you saved me from, Lord?
·         How do you save me?

I wrote my prayer:
Dearest Friend Jesus whom I can address as friend because you called me as “friend” first.  Thank you for wanting a deep and intimate relationship even as I have sought (and still sometimes seek) a relationship based on “I want,” “I need,” and “Please help me.”

All of that is human and good, but it is just a beginning.  I may begin human friendships with needs – a need to be understood, a need for companionship, and a need for strengthening.  But if the relationship stays at that entry level, it does not develop and grow; instead, it slides into a child-parent relationship of neediness; it is unbalanced.

Friendship is reciprocal—we lean on each other’s strengths.  I think, Dear Lord, you are wanting me to understand how I lean on You, and how You lean on me; how I depend on You, and how You depend on me.  That thought alone is almost too incredible to grasp!

How do I lean on You, Jesus?
I lean on You:
·         For understanding – the enduring aspect and the temporal aspect in my part and in Your part as my life unfolds.
·         For strengthening and courage on my journey and for boldness to speak up for truth.
·         For Love – to know I am accepted “as is,” and to be able to love those who have hurt me, or use me, neglect me or abuse me.
·         For forgiveness – of myself for my sins; of others who continually hurt me; of those who are annihilating whole groups of peoples through war, starvation, unemployment and greed.
·         For joy – that cleanses me of the residues of sadness; that brings Your Light to my perceptions, enhances my perspective and celebrates our relationship.

And now, I ask You, Dear Divine Friend, how do you lean on me?

Beloved Friend, Beloved of My Heart-- Yes, I call you friend:
“I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” (John 15.15)

I lean on you, dear friend to:
·         Trust Me – entrust all needs, hopes, desires, and works to Me.
·         Hear Me – take time to listen to my counsel before you begin any new work, whether it is writing, volunteering your services, taking a trip, running a meeting, whatever--I will not lead my beloved astray.
·         Move for Me – to be my word, my hands, my healing touch, my eyes and my ears in the place where you are-- in these circumstances, with these people, for this purpose.
·         Recognize  your limitations AND gifts; My Power AND My Desire for you (The good, life-giving Will of Our Father)
·         Remember and give thanks – When you do that, every good work grows.  I can strengthen you for the next endeavor because you are open to My Way, My Grace.
·         Rejoice and Celebrate with Me – Can anyone truly celebrate alone?  Rejoicing with Me increases the power of God’s Deeds Done!  The goodness spreads.  That is why I have inspired you to write - to lift souls above the waves of despair into the heavens of hope.

Lastly, Dear Friend, I lean on you to let Me work through you; to save you in areas where you believe it is impossible.  For “All things are possible with God.” (Mark 10.27b) As soon as you start to think something I have inspired in you is impossible, pray to Me for Truth to dispel the lie, and send the liar out. 

 I lean on you to let Me love you, now and forever,
            Jesus, Your Eternal and Best Friend

Thank you Jesus, for letting “…your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80.4)
Thank you, that you tell me,  “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (John 15.16)

May I place above all else our friendship, the friendship You have chosen -- especially when I am tempted to believe that I am “on my own;” that I have to do it all by myself.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Reflection on Habakkuk

by Sharon Nelsen

One day in our weekly faith-sharing group, we prayed for the Lord to give us words of knowledge for each other; words that would build up our faith.  I received the word, “Habakkuk.”

I knew the short book of Habakkuk, which is found between Nahum and Zephaniah and was written just prior to the Babylonian Exile, and I wondered why God was leading me to it now.  As I began to read, I was struck with the dialogue between Habakkuk and God that begins with the prophet strongly expressing his feelings:

   “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!” (1.2)

And God responding as if Habakkuk had asked a totally different question:
“Look over the nations and see, and be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not have believed, were it told.” (1.5)
Well, here I am, writing letters to God for over thirty years, expressing a cauldron of feelings and always hearing God respond with words that seem to circumvent what I was asking.  I’m beginning to relate to this man with the drum-like melodic name who speaks with such boldness to God. 

Does this have anything to do with what the Lord might be asking of me now? I am very aware of my inner reality.   Oh timid spirit, where is your boldness?  Are you waiting for God to do something magical--to wave a holy wand, and “poof” out springs a manuscript?

A woman mired in waiting, I go back to Habakkuk.  Now he is boldly asking God, “Why then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked man devours one more just than himself?” (1.13)

Again God responds by getting to the heart of the matter, this time with an encouraging mandate:

        Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.  For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” (2.2-3)

Well, old Habakkuk, I hear God speaking to me through you--right to the heart of my dilemma: “Write down the vision clearly so that one can read it readily.”   I decide to talk to God about it.

“Help me, Lord.  You know how uncomfortable I feel in sharing what I hear from You.  I am waiting for You to show me if what I hear I need to pass on to others, and if so, how?  I ask you to remove all barriers within me.”

And the Lord says, “Yes, I hear you.  Yes, I answer you-- in My words to you and in My words to Habakkuk.”

“First,” I hear God say, “Let’s look at how you perceive waiting: It is difficult for you to wait when apparently there is no resolution.  Things are not clearly resolved and that bothers you.  Why?  Because you think unresolved means:
·         Not good
·         Not what I hope for
·         Not favorable.

Unresolved simply means, “not yet resolved.”  If you believe and trust that I complete what I have begun, and you believe and trust that even if it is something that seems like your idea, I can bring good out of it, you will be able to wait in peace while the “not yet” unfolds.  In regard to our dialogues, you remain in an unresolved state because you are waiting to receive permission from a “higher authority.”  You have received permission from a higher authority, but you don’t trust that you have.  Essential to the walk of faith is stepping out because the Truth has embraced you and you cannot ignore it, deny it, or suppress it.  What you hear in the dark and are able to proclaim in the light comes from the gift of boldness that you so admire in Habakkuk and that is resting in your soul waiting to be activated.

Can you trust that I will not lead you, my beloved, astray?  Are you self-conscious because you are aware of your flaws, your weaknesses, your sins?  Whether you do things perfectly or not, I am with you.  Does “with you” mean agreeing with you in every aspect of your life?  Do you agree with your spouse, your children, your siblings, your friends on every issue, every subject?  Do they agree with you on every issue?  Yet, are you not “with each other” for life?  Do you not love each other deeply?

Agreement is not the issue; you can agree without love and you can love without agreeing.   When you let go of self-conscious and become God-conscious, you are in right relationship with Me, and you will find yourself “agreeing” more and more with My ways, which as I have said before, are not your ways.  Yet, know that I love you whether I agree with you or not.  And, I love you whether you agree with me or not.

Let’s look at My words to Habakkuk that struck your heart: “If the vision delays, wait for it.  It will surely come.  It will not be late.”

Delay is the key word here.  Delay means, “not yet here.”  Delay is about your perspective of My timing.  You hope for it now, you think it is better the sooner it arrives, and when it does not meet your expectations, you fall into your old thinking patterns about unresolved issues. And, like many before you, you risk missing the vision when its time has come. 

Those who wait for Me with courage, who are stout-hearted and wait through the delays, knowing that the vision is Truth, that its source is Me, recognize the vision when its time has come--when it is fulfilled.  A good example is Luke’s story of Simeon who waited for the vision to be fulfilled and recognized the Savior of the world. (Luke 2.27-32) 

While “not yet” is at the core of delays, “not timely” is at the core of late.  Late is about the earthly reality of time-- a time to be born and a time to die, a time for everything under the sun.  When the rains are late, the seedlings will wither and die.  If you arrive late at the airport, you miss your flight (unless it was delayed!)  Late misses the acceptable time, the day of salvation.

You are able to stay with the delays in the unknown and unresolved when you are confident that the source is Me.  Then you can wait, trusting that I bring all things to fulfillment at the proper time; that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, that I make all things new; that My words to the Church, My words to each person who listens and hears My Voice are trustworthy and true.

Recognize, as did Habukkuk, that now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation, and write down what you hear clearly so that it can be read.  Boldness in My Spirit empowers you to proclaim the Truth you have heard.  As you obey, new life is born in you, life that bears fruit as a tree planted by running streams. Even as we speak, it is being fulfilled.

I thank you Dear Father of Life for waiting for me to catch up to the vision you have for me.  Thank you Habukkuk, for writing about your own process clearly so that I could read it today. I can sum up today’s experience with your own closing words:

God, my Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet swift as those of hinds
And enables me to go upon the heights.” (3.19)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hymn of a Grateful Heart

A reflection by Sharon Nelsen

From Psalm 138 – 

1I thank you Lord with all my heart
You have heard the words of my mouth…
3On the day I called, you answered me
You increased the strength of my soul…
7aYou give me life though I walk amid affliction.

We could spend the rest of our lives thanking God and that would be enough!
What are we doing when we thank God?

·         We are acknowledging the source
·         We are recognizing gift
·         We are welcoming God’s Way in a variety of forms and areas: material, spiritual, relationships, desires of the heart.
·         Most importantly, we are making our acknowledgment, recognition, and welcoming a priority—the first act, the first words from our lips.

Why is giving thanks the priority?

Giving thanks
·         Increases hope for myself and for others-- for the Body of Christ
·         Increases trust in the loving power of God as we recognize unfolding “answers” to prayers
·         Increases our love for God, the One who hears us
·         Increases our faith, so that in long, difficult situations, we are able to persevere
·         Reminds us that God can and will bring all things to the good for those who love Him—those who trust and hope in Him.
·         Shifts our focus from neediness, from what is not yet done, to recognizing, remembering what has been accomplished, what is.
·         Inspires us to proclaim with the poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, that “The world is charged with the Grandeur of God!”
·         Inspires us to express creatively the abiding, caring presence of God in all aspects of life
·         Engenders joy and delight in the present –in what is right before us.

Giving thanks is not a legalistic mandate, something we’d better do, “or else!” Giving thanks is a gift that flows out of wisdom; a gift for us, an enduring gift that brings us into the abiding presence of God, now and forever.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Runaway Bride

A Reflection on Isaiah 5:1-7 N.A.B. 

By: Larry T

In the 1999 romantic comedy film Runaway Bride Julia Roberts plays Maggie Carpenter and Richard Gere plays Homer Eisenhower (Ike) Graham. Maggie is a spirited and attractive young woman who has a long history of unsuccessful relationships. She has been engaged three times, but anxiety over the permanence of marriage has caused her to runaway each time on the morning of her wedding day. On three occasions husbands-to-be, parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ministers, friends, musicians and caterers have gasped in shock at her failure to appear.

Meanwhile, in New York, columnist Homer Eisenhower Graham or "Ike" writes an article about Maggie that contains several factual errors, supplied to him by a man he meets in a bar who Ike later learns was one of Maggie's former fiancés. Ike is fired for not verifying his source, but is invited to write an in-depth article about Maggie in a bid to restore his reputation. He travels to Hale, Maryland, where he finds Maggie living with her family. And once again she’s engaged to be married. The fourth husband-to-be is Bob Kelly, played by Christopher Meloni, a football coach at the local high school.

Maggie predictably runs away the fourth time deserting Bob and the wedding party at the church. Eventually Maggie and Ike fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after.

The screenplay authors could have looked to the Bible for inspiration because of the Prophet Isaiah’s song about a runaway bride.

1 Let me now sing of my friend,
          my friend’s song concerning his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
          on a fertile hillside;
2 He spaded it, cleared it of stones,
          and planted the choicest vines;
Within it he built a watchtower,
          and hewed out a wine press.
Then he looked for the crop of grapes,
          but what it yielded was wild grapes.
3 Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
          judge between me and my vineyard:
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard
          that I had not done?
Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes,
          did it bring forth wild grapes?
5 Now, I will let you know
          what I mean to do to my vineyard:
Take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
          break through its wall, let it be trampled!
6 Yes, I will make it a ruin:
          it shall not be pruned or hoed,
          but overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
          not to send rain upon it.
7 The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
          and the men of Judah are his cherished plant;
He looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
          for justice, but hark, the outcry!
- Isaiah 5:1-7 N.A.B.

Isaiah’s sang his song about a vineyard at a gathering of some sort, possibly at the annual harvest Feast of Tabernacles. All sorts of performances would have been going on in the area between the booths built of leaves and branches; I can visualize the Prophet mingling with the celebrating people and announcing a love song about his friend and his vineyard.

To his listeners the vineyard was an image for a bride (Song of Solomon), so they were looking forward to a ballad suited to the festive atmosphere. And Isaiah’s song does get off to a good note. His friend’s vineyard was on rich soil; he planted the choicest vines on it, and did everything he could to make them flourish. The audience must have settled back smiling in anticipation of Isaiah’s next words, but the mood suddenly changed; instead of choice fruit, the vines produced nothing but inedible sour grapes, small, hard smelly things - the vineyard was a bitter disappointment.

The group immediately understood the point of Isaiah’s song: the bride was unfaithful - trust and hope were betrayed - his friend’s love was rejected. How will the song end? The terribly saddened friend handed over his vineyard to be plundered - he renounced the bride, leaving her in the dishonor for which she had no one to blame but herself.

The stunned audience suddenly realized the deeper meaning of Isaiah’s song: The vineyard, the bride, is Israel – the very people who are present. God gave them the way of justice in the Torah, he loved them, he did everything for them, and they answered him with unjust action and a regime of injustice. Isaiah’s love song was a threat of judgment. It finished with a gloomy prospect – that of God’s abandonment of Israel, with no sign at this stage of any further promise.

In the movie Maggie ran away from four bridegrooms on the morning of her wedding day. Engaged couple’s excitement and anticipation rise incrementally with the purchase of wedding rings, selection of a wedding dress, mailing of wedding invitations, rehearsal dinners, and all of the detailed planning that goes into even the simplest of weddings. Emotions on the morning of the wedding are at a feverish pitch ranging from joy, elation, worry, to hope. But what if our loved one, that person that we planned to spend the rest of our lives with, failed to show? Wouldn’t we be overwhelmed by disbelief, shock, shame, dismay, and betrayal? How does God feel when he is left standing at the altar by his people? His anguish is expressed through the Prophet Jeremiah’s lament:

2 Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear!
I remember the devotion of your youth,
          how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the desert,
          in a land unsown.
3 Sacred to the LORD was Israel,
          the first fruits of his harvest;
Should anyone presume to partake of them,
          evil would befall him, says the LORD.
4 Listen to the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob!
All you clans of the house of Israel,
5 thus says the LORD:
What fault did your fathers find in me
          that they withdrew from me,
Went after empty idols,
          and became empty themselves?
6 They did not ask, “Where is the LORD
          who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the desert,
          through a land of wastes and gullies,
Through a land of drought and darkness,
          through a land which no one crosses, where no man dwells?”
7 When I brought you into the garden land
          to eat its goodly fruits,
You entered and defiled my land,
          you made my heritage loathsome.
- Jeremiah 2:2-7 N.A.B.

Still, we know that God never gives up on his people. It’s in the New Testament where we get a sense of His love for us. Allegorically in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29-37 N.A.B.), “the road from Jerusalem to Jericho turns out to be an image of human history; the half-dead man lying by the side of the road is an image of humanity. Priest and Levite pass by; from earthly history alone, from its cultures and religions alone, no healing comes. If the assault victim is the image of Everyman, the Good Samaritan can only be the image of Jesus.” (Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict).

In the gospel of Luke we read about God’s joy when just one of his children accepts his love:

7 I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
- Luke 15:7 N.A.B. 

The Heavenly wedding party is waiting. Will I be a runaway bride leaving God standing at the altar lamenting over me, or do I have the humility to reconcile myself to him? This is an unavoidable decision that we all have to make.