Once again this Sunday there are two sets of readings in our lectionary in recognition of those people preparing to join in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. And once again, from all possible choices, it is a small phrase from the verse before the gospel that sets my mind on a path of reflection. As God’s messenger, the prophet Joel cries out: Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful. No matter if you are the woman caught in adultery (JN 8:1-11) or if you are already dead (EZ 37:12-14) or Lazarus (JN 11:1-45)…Even now it’s not too late for God to act.
Several times lately I have had conversations about how quickly time seems to be passing and often those conversations include a quiver of disbelief about how old we are at present. Sometimes those musings are tinged with regret about what we have left undone or how slow and undisciplined we are in achieving daily or long-term goals. How reassuring, then and always, it is to hear God’s voice saying (more gently than the prophet’s cry) Even now, return…even now, I wait for you…even now I love you completely…even now.