Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Lord is Close
One of the most precious gifts we have from God is His wonderful closeness to us. The first words of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel are: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close”. Mk 1:15 The word for close in the original Greek is en-ge’-zo or in + gus= in hollow of hand. This word is used 86 times in the New Testament (NT). Its nuance is more than just being close, but in the hand i.e. in the possession of another’s grasp. To give one’s hand is used in marriage i.e. To request permission to marry one,
as from their father or family. To say God is close is to say in His hand. This gives us the verb, “to pledge,” “to engage” “offering security,” subst. “guarantor,” i.e., the one who accepts legal obligation (for payment etc.) in a bond.
When Sacred Scripture says: “The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing” Phil 4:5f It should give us a sense of amazement at His closeness and consolation we are in His hand! There are many expressions in the Greek NT to express the wonder of His nearness! For instance, the Greek word “e-no’-pe-on” means to bein the eye. It is used 97 times often referring to be in God’s eye. The beauty of this word is often missed in the English translations. “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before (in-op-pion) God. LK 12:6
“God is with us” is another beautiful expression that appears some 647 times from Genesis to Revelation. The first as Immanuel and the last words of Jesus in Mt Gospel “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mt 28:20. “they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Mt 1:23
Two of the largest diamonds in the world are called Cullinan I & 11, or the Stars of Africa. On special occasions, the Queens of England would wear both of these on a pendant. The Star of Africa 1 alone is at 530.4 carats and the Star of Africa 2 is 317.4 together the diamonds are worth far more than 400 million dollars! On must feel extremely important wearing these precious diamonds! How incredibly significant are we who wear Christ, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ!” Rom 13:14 “The Lord is near.”
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.