Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28
In chapter 17 of John’s gospel we read, "And this is eternal life, that they know you the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3) How do we get to know the one true God? We can read Sacred Scripture. We can study theology. But something more is required.
There is a saying that states, "You can’t really know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes." We have to feel what the other is feeling and experience what the other is experiencing in order to truly know and understand them.
Can we apply this thought to knowing God? How can we possibly "walk a mile in God’s shoes?"
Who does God love? Everybody. Who is in God’s heart? Everybody. How do we "walk a mile in God’s shoes?" By loving everybody.
To whom does God extend forgiveness? Everybody. As our first reading expresses it, "The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God…" To whom should we extend forgiveness? Everybody. To have a forgiving heart is to "walk a mile in God’s shoes."
Today’s responsorial psalm 103 sums it up nicely, "The Lord is kind and merciful." If our hearts embrace everyone, if we choose to forgive everyone, if we are "kind and merciful" to all we meet, we are well on the way to eternal life, knowing the one true God.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/