Thursday, 2nd Week of Easter
“Whoever disobeys the Son… the wrath of God remains upon him.”
What is God’s wrath? According to Leo Zanchettin, it is often described in the Old Testament as divine anger at man’s disobedience. The prophets used highly descriptive images, like blazing, consuming fire, to convey God’s wrath. Scripture gives us numerous examples of individuals, communities, even entire nations that were subjected to the wrath of God.
The wrath of God is not the spiteful anger of an arbitrary deity withholding his love from anyone of his creatures. The wrath of God is rather the judgment that is consequent upon the rejection of God’s love. That love is a gift of God in sending his Son into the world. “Whoever believes in Son has eternal life.”
Allow me to use Leo Zanchettin’s commentary on this: “Jesus’ death on the cross is the supreme example of the interplay between wrath and mercy in the heart of God.” “Human disobedience had to be punished, yet we could never make full restitution for the way we dishonored God.” “So, in his love, our Father sent his Son to pay the price we could never pay.” “God made the provision for everyone to be saved.” “Through the cross, the way was opened for the Holy Spirit to be given to us without measure – enabling us to obey God and experience fullness of life.”
Yes, we can be subjected to God’s wrath. But there is hope. Scripture always pairs God’s wrath with his promise of mercy. God is completely devoted to his people. His wrath is tempered by his mercy because he longs to draw his children away from sin and back to himself. As beautifully expressed in today’s responsorial psalm (Psalm 34:23): “The Lord is the redeemer of the souls of his servants; and none are condemned who take refuge in him.”
Let us place ourselves in God’s hands and conform our lives to the gospel message of love and obedience. Every day, let us ask the Holy Spirit to be with us in all we do.
Let us end with a prayer: Father, thank you for your mercy toward us. By sending Jesus, you have saved us. Send the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our hearts so that we can follow your loving ways and live each day in your victory. Amen.