Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Love of God comes first (precedes) before the Moral

This is a delicate topic. We have been used to thinking that we do good things to win the love of someone else. In a way we say that morality is done in order to please God. God might be angry if we do not do good things. God wants to see that we do good things. Moral life is designed for the satisfaction of God. 
This is not biblical and it is not within the context of Revelation. God took the initiative to create us, to liberate us and to introduce us to divine life (thanks to Jesus Christ). In other words, the love and the "good things" done to us by God came first and moral living is our response. The love of God is primary; moral life is our way of saying thanks.
Well, it is not easy to digest this, I suppose. The world is so tough. There is so much darkness in social living. How can we speak of God loving us first? Is the Christian moral faith an illusion, a dream, a kind of "lotus eating" gesture?
Well, let us look at Jesus. He came to announce the Good News--that we belong to the Father. He loved his disciples and said that they should love each other as Jesus loved them. In Jesus we see also the initiative of love coming initially from God. Discipleship and hence moral living is a response. 
During the time of Jesus, life in Palestine was quite dark. It was the period of the Roman Empire. People were heavily taxed for Rome. The Jewish nation was tired and fed up being always under a foreign reign. Then among the Jews themselves there were inconsistencies in social life. There was the elitism of people who claimed to have mastered the "purity" rites. There was the marginalization of the poor and little ones. There was the weight of religious practices--such as the Sabbath observance. The Temple was quite a burden--starting with the taxation of Herod the Great.
It was never that easy during the time of Jesus. It was dark too. Yet Jesus came to preach about the love of God and Jesus called for discipleship so that there be disciples who will continue his ministry of preaching the Kingdom.
Jesus knew that the love of the Father was primary and discipleship was a response. So if, today, we wonder about the reality of the Christian faith, we can look at Jesus. The reason why a disciple of Christ works for justice, struggles against corruption and promiscuity in society is not to win God's love. No. The reason is because the love of God is true and real the dark elements in society should not have the domination over people. Moral living is a way of "witnessing" to the truth about God's love--confirmed in the Resurrection of Jesus. The love of God comes first. Then we respond and say that, indeed, we live as victors over sin and darkness and we do not want sin and darkness to govern us. The love of God precedes our moral life.

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