Last Sunday, Mary and I flew to Spokane to visit our son’s family and our new granddaughter—barely 2-1/2 months old. As I gaze on this new creation of God and consider today’s readings, I need to wax sentimental. God compares His love to that of a mother. How could anyone, mother or father, leave, ignore or not fall in love with such a precious bundle of joy? As much as we love and care for this helpless gift of God’s love, His caring shoulder is more comforting than any mother’s; we need to spend more time resting on it. I wonder how many mothers, fathers, grandma’s, and grandpa’s have looked at a child and remarked, “I wish they could stay this way forever and not become teenagers and young adults!” Then I wonder if God looks at us, resting against His shoulder as infants in Faith, and wishes the same thing. He tells us in the first reading how much He loves and cares for us. In the Gospel He compares His caring love for us to that for the rest of His creation, reminding us that WE are the most precious of all His creation! St. Paul speaks to us as adults and tells us to stay focused on God, which calls to mind the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa who says, “We shall be blessed with clear vision if we keep our eyes fixed on Christ, for He, as Paul teaches, is our head, and there is in Him no shadow of evil. As no darkness can be seen by anyone surrounded by light, so no trivialities can capture the attention of anyone who has his eyes on Christ” (emphasis added).
As we head into Lent with its sacrifices and denials, it is good to remember why we do it: to grow in our trust of God and to learn, in the words of the psalm response, to Rest in God alone, my soul.