THE BEST FRIEND
In the nucleus of Christian faith in a Trinitarian God there an essential affirmation. God isn’t a shadowy and impenetrable being, enclosed selfishly in Self. God is Love and only Love. We Christians believe that in the ultimate Mystery of reality, that which gives meaning and consistency to everything, there’s nothing but Love. Jesus hasn’t written any treatise about God. At no point do we find him expounding to the vilagers of Galilee a doctrine about God. For Jesus, God isn’t a concept, a beautiful theory, a sublime definition. God is the best Friend of human beings.
There is one fact presented in the Gospels that researchers don’t doubt: the people who listened to Jesus speaking about God and saw him act in God’s name experienced God as Good News. What Jesus says about God turns out to be something new and good. The experience that he communicates and spreads seems to them to be the best news that they could hear about God. Why?
Maybe the first thing they caught on to is that God is for everyone, not just for those who feel themselves worthy to present themselves to God in the Temple. God isn’t bound to a sacred place. God doesn’t belong to a religion. God isn’t the property of the pious who make pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to Jesus, «God makes the sun shine on the good and the bad». God doesn’t exclude or discriminate against anyone. Jesus invites everyone to trust in God: «When you pray, say: “Father!».
With Jesus they go on discovering that God isn’t only for those who come close carrying their merits. Long before those merits come, God listens to those who beg compassion because they feel themselves sinners without hope. According to Jesus, God always goes about seeking those who are lost. That’s why Jesus feels so much a friend of sinners. That’s why Jesus says that he «has come to seek and to save what was lost».
In addition they find out that God doesn’t just belong to the wise and the experts. Jesus gives thanks to the Father that the Father is pleased to reveal to the little ones that which is hidden from the learned. God has fewer problems being understood by the simple people than by the teachers who think they know everything.
Though it’s true that Jesus’ life was dedicated in God’s name to alleviate the suffering of the sick, free those possessed by evil spirits, rescue the lepers from being marginalized, offer forgiveness to sinners and prostitutes…, what convinces the people is that Jesus experienced God as the best Friend of human beings, that this Friend only seeks our good and only opposes what causes us damage. Jesus’ followers never doubted that the God incarnate and revealed in Jesus is Love, and only Love, towards all.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf