1 Peter 1:18-25
"When you care enough to send the very best." This is the well-known advertising slogan of a greeting card company. One obvious faith application of this thought is John 3:16. "God so loved the world that he sent his only Son." Yes, God cared enough to give us Jesus, the very best!
What did God give to Jesus? At the Last Supper, when Jesus prayed to his Father, he said, "They (the apostles) are your gift to me." (John 17:24) Yes, the apostles were a mix of both talents and faults, but yet they were "the very best." They were human beings! They had minds that could know truth, wills that could choose the good and hearts that could love. They (as we) were made in the image and likeness of God and therefore good and valuable.
Today’s epistle reading from the first letter of Peter takes us further. Not only are we human beings valuable because of the inner goodness we possess from creation. We are infinitely valuable because we were ransomed "not by any diminishable sum of silver or gold but by Christ’s blood beyond all price."
C.S. Lewis said, "Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object present to your senses."
Next time someone criticizes us, harasses us or bullies us, we need to call to mind how valuable and holy we are in the eyes of God. We are God’s gift to Jesus! And he takes us with him and gives us back as gift to the Father. All we have to do is say "Yes."
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.