16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 23, 2017)

Today’s first reading from the Old Testament Book of Wisdom invites us into the mystery of our God.

Though our God is master of might, God judges with clemency and governs us with great leniency. The inspired writer is clearly pointing out to us that God’s mercy is directly proportionate to his power. God’s power is the source of divine justice and mercy.

What a wonderful revelation! We are always aware that our God is all-powerful – a God of justice. That awareness can often make us fearful of God.

Today’s reading helps us to understand that God’s power is a power for good. God’s power shows itself is a justice that is always merciful, compassionate, lenient – a justice that is urging us to repent and allow ourselves to be drawn closer to our God.

We need not fear the power of our God when we understand our God as he reveals himself in the Scriptures, and especially in Jesus. Our God’s power desires to draw us more completely into his mercy – make us more completely his children. All we need to do is choose to let God’s power into our hearts each day so that God can draw us closer to himself and share his loving mercy more fully with us.

As the writer of the Book of Wisdom reflected on God’s deeds of power and mercy in history, he understood that God is showing his people how he wants them to live. “Those who are just must be kind.” Whatever position of power we may have, our power must reflect divine power – a power that is loving, just, kind, merciful, compassionate, and lenient. God asks us to treat others as he treats us.

There is much in today’s Scripture readings that we can take to prayer this week. Our God desires to continue to teach us about what it means to live as his children.