July 3, 2016 - Relationship with God

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
"Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name."
Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

Luke 10:17-20

The passage of today’s reading that usually gets the most attention is the part in which Jesus sends seventy-two of his disciples out to evangelize two by two in voluntary poverty.  I explored that passage in my June 3, 2016 blog entry. Today, I’d like to concentrate on the end of the reading. 

Jesus tells his disciplines not to be happy about their reported ability to perform miracles, but to rejoice that God has loving concern for them.  Faith is not about magical intervention by God to save us from misfortune or to make us magically more moral than others.  Faith is about acknowledging that our names are written in heaven. 

Many people of faith talk about having a “relationship with God”, and rightfully so: God has made us His children.  But, in another sense, that expression invites misinterpretation and false expectations.  This is not a relationship where the participants do something for each other or where they remain in constant communication.  As God’s chosen, every person enjoys a special status with Him and being the subject of His loving gaze - even if that doesn’t translate into perks and benefits.  

Photo: Cat's Eye Nebula