by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Most of us, I’m sure, understand that the Gospel — that word Gospel — means “good news.” Good news. And if we listen carefully to the Scriptures today, I think we’ll understand why the Gospels mean “good news”: extraordinary news, blessed news for all of us because this Gospel lesson and the other two Scriptures also remind us of how God has always first loved us. In the first letter of John, we read how God is love, and we’re reminded that everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. This is love — not that we loved God, but that God first loved us.
God first loved us. God loved us by drawing us into being, loving us into existence, supporting us at every instant that we exist. It’s all God’s love — God first loves us. That’s the good news, and Jesus proclaims that good news because he has been steeped in it from his own understanding of the law and the prophets, especially the prophets. There’s that beautiful passage in the book of the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 30, where the prophet has been urging the people not to enter into an alliance for war, not to go to war.
This is in Chapter 30, and the prophet says, “Conversion into calmness would have been your salvation, and quietness and trust, your strength; but instead, you said, ‘No. We will go to war. We will flee on horses. Pray well then flee, and we will ride on rough, swift steeds,’ you said.” But then they were devastated in that war and experienced a terrible defeat. They had disobeyed the call of the prophet to conversion, to quietness, to calmness and peace, and trusting in God only...