Epiphany ABC

The ancients in general seem to have understood that diverse deities existed, related, competed--and that the question for human discernment and commitment was which one, whose, was the real God. Today’s first reading from Isaiah can be understood in that way. Perhaps generated from amid a wider experience of having lived in the cosmopolitan empires of Babylon and Persia rather than simply in the land of promise, the prophet’s sense is that all the earth will learn that Yahweh of Israel/Judah is the true deity, competing claims notwithstanding. "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you," promises and praises the psalm refrain. I think our sense of this vast human challenge about God is slightly different: not to choose among discrete contenders but to discern and move ever more deeply into relationship with the One who pervades all that exists. Our actions, not God’s, are the diagnostic of how well we manage. The temptation, I think, is not so much to choose wrong and wrongly (I don’t think the things we sometimes are said to idolize actually begin to fill the role of deity) but to fail to orient our lives deeply enough so that God is able to exert a deep and tangible influence on us. The Godquest is our search for God who is searching for us, finding us, to the extent we allow it. How to be deeply present there, sharing the gifts we have been given, and in adoration. Barbara Green, O.P.

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