Redemption…A word we use, but what does it mean for us?
Remember days of long ago when we purchased coke or pepsi and it came in glass bottles. And then we redeemed those bottles. It meant that those empty bottles still had value, beyond what they contained.
Redemption is to say there is value.
Through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and through his very being, we humans are redeemed. We are shown that we have value, beyond what we think we contain. No matter what, we always have value.
We, as the 2nd reading makes clear, are children of God. This is our value, this is our core identity. This is what matters. This is our freedom! God loves us no matter what! Even after executing the Son of God, we have value.
See, I think we too often think our value is in what we do, in how we look, in how much we earn, in what political party we belong to, in what nation we belong to, what religion we practice. We also assess a value to others the same way. This is enslaves us. It keeps us and all others down.
Our value, our worth, our redemption is that we are children of God. The freedom of our world is that we are children of God.
Let that sink in a bit.
Imagine if we stopped having to prove ourselves to others.
Imagine if we stopped having to make others see our value.
Imagine if we stopped having to make others prove themselves worthy for us.
Imagine how much stress, much fear, much anger, how much sadness would be gone.
I think we place so much energy into doing these things, and they consume us.
Then we forget to be alive, we forget what is really important. We forget the importance of our families, friends, the other people. We forget the importance of beauty in the world.
We forget the Joy.
But, when we remember and live as Children of God, then life is about reaching out to others, connecting with others, healing others, living a communal life.
The Family is crucial to this!
It is within a Family that a person learns about love, learns to be loved. A parish builds on this; so that ideally we are to help the families about love. Think again of God, the God that Jesus revealed; God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a community of self giving love.
This is our nature as those children of God.
This weekend too, we are called to remember vocations to the religious life; and it is the specific mission of priests and religious to be aware of our value of as children of God and to guide people into deeper meaning and participation in this mystery.
Think of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into this world to show us the path to live this life; Think of the people he cured, he touched, he forgave.
He saw beyond all the superficial stuff, and he saw brothers and sisters; children of God who needed to be shown that they had value, they had worth.
And by doing this, he helped them to see their own dignity, their own value as children of God.
Of course Jesus was rejected by humanity….especially the rich and powerful, because their whole lives are built upon keeping people down. Because, when we see other people truly of value, then things must change.
When we see others as the Children of God, then we have to see them as having rights to living wages, to clean food and water; the right to be safe in their homes and in other lands. The right to be called a person, and not illegal. The right to being treated equal, no matter their gender, the color of skin, or however else we classify people.
This is what it means to be a child of God, and live as a Child of God.
As Pope Francis said last week: “The content of Christian witness is not a theory, and ideology, or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions but rather a message of salvation, a concrete event, or rather a Person: it is the risen Christ, the sole and living Saviour of all”.
It is for all of us a real challenge and a real opportunity.
The challenge is to grow into this and accept it; the opportunity is to be truly alive, as Jesus is alive, today, here and now.
And when we need reminding, which we almost always do, we have the Eucharist, the great sacrament of redemption.
So be redeemed, and live as the redeemed. Live as the True Children of God which we are.