I think many people believe in God. However, many people’s concept of God is very impersonal, as if He is a nebulous being that has no real impact on our everyday life. God exists but He really does not affect us in a very personal and intimate way! We give some types of intellectual or emotional ascent but the life of faith does not form, change, or transform us deep from within. We say that we know God and love Him, but this love often becomes very cold, detached, and impersonal because we do not want to give Him our everything, just whatever is convenient, comfortable, or easy for us. Hence, many people say that they believe but not many have taken the path of holiness to be His disciples. Nonetheless, as we have heard over and over again, Jesus Christ kept calling His disciples to come and follow Him. Simply put, He does not want simple recognition, He desires that we walk with Him on the path of holiness and perfection in love.
When we read the Gospels, there were several accounts of people who came to Jesus and asked Him to heal them, their loved ones, or someone that they know, and each and every time, the Lord always asked them questions to affirm their faith. He was not content with doing something extraordinary to appeal to or captivate their mind, senses, or human understanding. He wanted their faith! Without a doubt, our God desires a loving, self-giving relationship more than simple, captivating, and humanistic interaction and exchange. He wants our faith and the personal giving of ourselves out of love in response to His loving gift of grace.
In the very pluralistic world of Mesopotamia (contrary to what was often portrayed and understood in the Bible at times), there were numerous deities from different cultures, empires, and groups of people. In many archaeological digs, we find small home altars to those gods or goddesses in typical Jewish households, too. In a paganistic world, even the Jews were influenced by society to have their own set of household “favorite” deities to turn to in times of need. Nevertheless, our God who is a jealous and loving God does not simply want to be one among many, He desires our everything because He has given us everything.
We perhaps at this moment will think that we are not like the uneducated people of the past because we do not believe in wooden or handmade idols. Nevertheless, in a secularistic and almost atheistic world, our idols now come in the forms of technologies, agendas, conveniences, and whatever else we put before God. They might not be Zeus, Athena, Apollo, or older paganistic names, but they might sound like Apple, Samsung, LG, Ford, Chevy, Ram, or anything else that we are working so hard to attain. At times, too, these idols are not even objective but egocentric desires and goals that we live for! Simply put, we idolize something when we are willing to trade anything and everything to attain it at all costs. Sometimes, too, they come in form of celebrities, sports, or things that captivate our minds and life, to replace our Sunday and everyday worship, prayer, and discipleship by focusing on them first. In the day and age when no one wants to talk about spiritual matters anymore, idolatry comes in different forms but they still bear the same effects of making us being deterred, distracted, or losing focus on our genuine covenant, worship, and following of God and His commandments for us.
In His loving heart, He provides for us more than what we can imagine. He cares for us in ways that only the God who is truly in love with us can ever do! Therefore, He wants to enter into a loving covenant with us instead of just simply an exchange, interaction, or benefit-based encounter. That is why, as in the past, the Almighty desires our faith and everything. We are called to be perfect in love just as our Heavenly Father is perfect in loving us! The call to holiness is not just for the clergy, religious, or certain types of people, it is for each and every one of us. He desires that we become holy, united with Him, and always grow in the perfection of love.
We are called to be saints, sanctifying our days, and becoming more like the One who created us each day! In a world where it dismissed the need for sanctity by simply making everyone into “angels,” we are called to be mindful of our true calling and reject the errors. Angels are spiritual beings, purer than us, and their number has been set since they were created before us. We do not become angels when we die, we remain as we are, human beings — either in Heaven, on our way through the purgative stage of love, or eternally detached from God through our hardness of heart.
In the end, we either will be saints through the sanctification and purgation period (that begins now) or we do not! The Lord did not come to die for angels, He came to give His life to set us free from slavery to sin and bondage of this world. Many saints have attested that the angels are jealous of us in a way because the Almighty took flesh, lived like us, and chose to die for us as both God and man. Without a doubt, we are called to be Christlike by seeking holiness, sanctifying ourselves to become more united with Him in words and actions. Simply put, we are called to be saints in reflecting His light to the world by how we live, for our words and actions are the manifestations of our hearts and souls that belong to God.
Let us not, therefore, forget our universal call to holiness and to live as Christ did, not only for ourselves but for the greater good and sanctification of this world. Through our genuine gift of faith, we are able to lift one another up and help each other along the way. We are all sinners who are trying each day to be more holy by conforming our lives to Christ Jesus and allowing His loving grace to change us deep from within. Of course, there will be challenging days with their obstacles, hardships, and trials along the way, but as long as we fix our eyes on Him, we can personally and genuinely choose to live for Him and with Him. Thus, let us not be scared to be holy and try our best to become saints in our own journey of faith so we can radiate His love to others and help them along their journey as well.
May our God be our everything; and Heaven, our true homeland and final destination.