Broken: Good News in Tough Times, God’s Power
This is the fourth week of our message series Broken: Good news in tough times. The last few weeks we have spoken about suffering, hope, and the fact that God created us in his image. He chooses us, and gives our lives purpose. Today we are going to look at God’s power.
Let’s cut right to the chase. God’s power is God’s love because God is love. The all-conquering power of God’s love has overcome every obstacle to your salvation and every thing that threatens to separate you from God.
Today’s readings emphasize God’s power because they emphasize God’s love, God’s goodness, and God’s generosity. For example, through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord invites the hungry and thirsty to come to him. He will give food and drink to them. That’s right. He will GIVE, NOT SELL, grain, wine, and milk. “Come without paying and without cost.”
That prophecy received unexpected fulfillment at the Feeding of the Five Thousand that we heard about in the Gospel. The gospel writers found this so remarkable that it’s the only miracle of Jesus to be recorded in all four Gospels (apart from the Resurrection itself). The story shows God’s power through his love, mercy, and compassion. Jesus taught the crowd and healed the sick and fed them because “his HEART WAS MOVED.” Not only was their need for food met, but the divine abundance was demonstrated. Twelve baskets full of leftovers were collected. And Jesus gave them their meal “without paying and without cost.”
Undoubtedly the gospel writers were also aware of the direct connection between this meal and what takes place during Mass. The feeding of the five thousand has a direct connection to the meal that takes place during every Mass. Jesus not only fed the crowd on that one occasion. He continues to feed us as well, and he does so with the best imaginable food and drink, his own Body and Blood which we receive during Mass. Such a banquet is a gift that would be inconceivable without Jesus’ own teaching about it. Jesus tells us he is going to feed us in this way, and he does it.
God’s love and generosity are not limited, however, to food and drink, his body and blood, no matter how wonderful. His power, his love, does not stop there.
Saint Paul tells us today that God extends his power to us and offers us tremendous protection. The protection extended to us, Paul writes, means that nothing – no angelic or demonic being, no force or power, not even death itself – can force a separation between us and God’s love for us expressed through his Son Jesus.
An early death, an unjust fate, an incomplete life, gross and tragic unfairness to those left behind: truly, all of these things do not negate the love of God, and the ultimate expression of God’s love which is eternal life with him through the gift of his Son Jesus. Thanks be to God for that!
Consider the power you assign to powerless things; like worry, other people, circumstances… let it go, and recognize that only God, who loves you, has power over your life.
No, nothing can separate us from God – except ourselves, that is. God’s love means that he will respect our free will, no matter how badly we misuse it. He gives us all we have, including life itself. But we are stewards who are responsible to him for our use of all his gifts: our time, and talent, and treasure. As he said through Isaiah, “Heed me… Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life.” If we refuse to heed him, we rush headlong into disaster: spiritual, material, or both.
What we owe the Lord is the response of a grateful heart. He so generously gives to us, our response should also be generosity.
Consider these things. The all-conquering power of God’s love has overcome every obstacle to your salvation and every threat to separate you from God. Nothing can separate you from God’s love. No matter how difficult things may get, how broken life may feel, or how broken you may feel at times, nothing, nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus Christ. That is God’s good news in these tough times.
Can you imagine anything more generous than God’s love for you? How do you show your thanks? How do we respond to God’s power, God’s love, his generosity. How do we respond to God’s good news in these broken times?
In thanksgiving for all we have received, we need to ask God’s guidance on how we should use our blessings. Because we are created in God’s image we are most happy when we are most generous, like God is. Doesn’t that make perfect sense? Because we are created in God’s image we are most happy when we are most generous, like God is.
The more we come to know God, have a relationship with God and his Son Jesus, the more we want to use what we have received to give glory to him by sharing it with others. And then we discover the odd economics of the Kingdom of God. That is, when we give, we discover we receive spiritual blessings beyond anything we can imagine. You simply cannot out-give God because God’s power is his love, his generosity, his abundance.
Consider how you can respond to God’s power, God’s love, his generosity. Consider how generous you should be. Consider how you should respond to God’s good news in these broken times.
When we give the way God wants us to give, the way he created us to give, we discover we receive spiritual blessings beyond anything we can imagine.