Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop (Memorial)

 

My people heard not my voice. 

 

Do you remember how the kingdom of Israel was formed?   Wanting to be just like all the pagan nations around them, God’s people asked the prophet Samuel for a king, so he reluctantly anointed Saul.   Two more kings followed, David and Solomon.   But when Solomon turned away from the Lord to worship foreign gods—just as Samuel had predicted would occur—God allowed the kingdom to be divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.

From a human standpoint, this division was a natural consequence of the way the monarchy was treating its subjects.   The Israelites had grown weary of Solomon’s idolatrous excesses and rebelled against him.   In many ways, Israel had indeed become like their pagan neighbors, and they were reaping the results of this similarity:   dissension, injustice, infighting, and division.

Today’s first reading (Psalm 81:12) reminds us that God respects the free will he gave us, but he also respects the consequences that our acts of free will—both good and evil—bring about.   That doesn’t mean he just leaves us to our own devices.   No, God continued to watch over Israel and to work out his plan for them.

There’s no such thing as undoing God’s plans or thwarting his goodness, not even through our sins.   He is still faithful to his promises.   He is still the Lord of history.   The failures of human leaders—and us individually—clearly have real-world consequences, just as all sins do.   But no matter what happens, we can still trust that God will not abandon us.   We can trust that he will continue to call us back to himself—and to pave a way for us to follow.

God is always offering his people second chances—and third and fourth and fifth chances.   After the kingdom of Israel split, he sent prophets to call his people back to him.   Eventually, the people learned that security was not to be found in military strength or political intrigue.   They needed to turn back to God.   They needed a Messiah.   And God came through by becoming their Messiah himself.

God never gave up on Israel.   In the same way, he will never give up on you or on any of your loved ones.   He is always faithful—to the end.

“All praise to you, Lord, for your love endures forever!”

1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19
Mark 7:31-37

WORD AMONG US