• Sarah Raad


Christ came to call sinners.Thank God!

Jesus Christ and the Good Thief (Titian)

Today, while I was praying for those who are sick, like Vanessa and Steven, and those who grieve, like the family of Saint Baby Charbel and young Raphael and the grieving mothers, the souls alone and those dying, and, of course, the Lost Souls of Purgatory, still more intentions came to mind. The list of intentions seemed to stretch out endlessly in a procession of Faith from here unto infinity. And yet, despite the sheer magnitude of intentions that fills my mind, as the intentions grow – so too does my rest! As the intentions grow through faith, so too does my Hope in God for a future filled with Charity.

It seems a rare paradox – that while my burdens grow, I am given rest!

But with God, I guess, paradoxes are rarely rare.

An Epiphany is a sudden realisation of the essential nature of something. The Feast of the Epiphany occurred last week. It is an interesting Feast of our Church. It commemorates two revelations. Firstly, the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles when the Magi followed the Star-Angel to visit Christ; and secondly, the revelation of Christ to the Jews, when Christ was baptised and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and a voice cried out from Heaven – “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

In considering these special circumstances, it occurred to me that there was a paradox in each of these revelations.

For the angel appeared to the shepherds, not just the Magi. And there is great significance in this. During the time of Christ, shepherds had such a reputation as scoundrels that they were not allowed to deliver testimony in a court of law because they were generally regarded as so dishonest and insignificant that their testimony could not be trusted. And yet, despite society’s complete disregard of them, God sent His Angel to speak to them – to announce the good news to them – those who nobody would believe.

And the Angel appeared to the Magi – not as an Angel, but as a Star – because being Wise Men, they had the capacity to understand that they should follow – and God made allowances for that.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus really did have such wisdom in telling us that we should each take joy in the role we have – whether we are simply daisies or glorious lilies in God’s garden, because all of God’s creations are beautiful to Him and give Him joy!

While the angel CAME to the shepherds, whose capacity was limited; he CALLED to the wise men, whose capacity was not! Another paradox for us to ponder there…

The angel appeared to the least of us, while simultaneously calling the best of us!

And in accommodating the diverse needs of the cohort, God demonstrated His infinite mercy and grace as our Eternal Teacher!

For what is teaching, other than adapting information to a format that is compatible with the least of one’s students, and for the most advanced?

To each, God demands His due. From each, His due is different.

And perhaps, this is a small reflection of the infinite justice of God. He looks into our souls and from that, in knowing us more intimately than we know even ourselves, He loves us so perfectly, that the manifestation of His love results in the perfect attribution of our needs.

The Baptism of Christ so confounded John the Baptist, that he almost refused to perform it – “You should be baptising me!” And yet, Christ, as the eternal teacher, demonstrated not only His humility – but His humanity – in wishing to set an example to humanity of what God required of them.

Such love!

This love is confounding to us imperfect humans. In considering the mystery of the Trinity it often confounds people that the Holy Spirit – the LOVE between the Father and the Son – can be EQUAL to the Father and the Son. And yet – that definition of the Holy Spirit is the perfect explanation of God! There is nothing more clear than that!

God is infinite goodness, mercy, compassion and LOVE. Where love is infinite, it is as powerful in itself as the relationship from which it comes. Once we stop to appreciate that God is Infinite and God is Love – then the confusion evaporates. Though we could never understand the infinity of God’s love, if we can accept it – we would know that a perfect love is just that Perfect. And perfection equals perfection.

So, the Holy Spirit is Perfect and Equal to the Perfect Father and the Perfect Son and as the Love between them, He is not LESS THAN THEM – HE IS THEIR EQUAL. Because Their Love – unlike ours – is PERFECT!

So, when the Good Thief – a thief, a criminal, a villain – was told, “This day you will be with Me in Paradise,” it was no coincidence that God promised a crook that he would get into Heaven first.

You see… That is the paradox of God. That is the point. He came to call sinners.

Lucky for me!

For with hope, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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