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The Why


I am guilty of being a modern thinker. So, when I read how Jupiter and Saturn would align on December 21, I got excited! This naturally occurring conjunction is what God used to lead the magi to Jesus! I can even find other examples in Scripture of times that miracles are actually natural occurrences: the Red Sea is actually a marshy area that allows for foot traffic but bogs down heavier chariots; manna is created by insects and quail migrate. You get the idea – God created the natural order so that certain things and events would happen when God wanted them to protect the Chosen People or highlight the Messiah.

But, alas, the Bible is not written by modern thinkers. The ancient writers of Scripture were not concerned with the “how” of God’s actions. They did not separate between nature and miracle, because everything came from God. THAT God acted in our lives was a given. “How” was irrelevant since God’s activity was assumed. The more important question to ask for these writers, and I suspect for us as well, is “why.” Why have eastern astronomers follow a star to a Jewish infant? Why free a bunch of slaves from one of the super powers of its day? Why does a supreme being become a mere mortal? Why create at all?

The short answer is LOVE. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God and Jesus act out of an abundance of unconditional love. In the second story of creation (Genesis 2:4-25), God shares God’s spirit with the first human in a gesture of intimate love. That creative act by God leads to more creation so that the first human can share that intimate love with another creature. Even though that love becomes broken through selfishness, God continually calls forth that love from people God knows are quite capable of expressing it. God frees a bunch of ragtag slaves and expects them to share that freedom with others – codifying some of the ways to express those loving relationships through the Ten Commandments. God wants to make clear to us how we are to act out of love, so God becomes one of us. God wants us to understand that the love we are to show and express is not limited to one group, so the magi pay a visit.

The Holy Spirit constantly and consistently inspired the Biblical writers to explore the why of God’s actions. Of course, you know where I am headed next—the exploration of God’s actions is intended to lead us to explore our own actions. God acts out of love. Do I act out of love as well? Now, granted God acts with love all of the time! Me, I’m one of those broken, sinful creatures. It’s tough for me to consistently act in a loving way. God knows. That’s part of the why in the Bible. God doesn’t need to be reminded of why God acts with love … we do. God doesn’t need to be shown examples of God’s loving actions … we do. The stories in the Bible are for us to understand the why.

God also doesn’t expect perfection, that’s why God constantly offers forgiveness. God does expect us to keep trying to act with love by reading Scripture, receiving Sacraments, and asking for help during prayer.

—  Brian Guillot, Director of Faith Formation

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