Precious in the Eyes of the Lord


            The second reading for today from the First Letter of Peter contains some of the most reassuring verses in Scripture.  We are called living cornerstones of the Church, built into a holy priesthood. We are called a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people the Lord claims for his own to proclaim the glorious works of the one who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.


            We are precious in the eyes of the Lord.  We are invaluable.  We are cherished.  We are highly esteemed.  We are loved.


            Why?  Does God love us so much because of something or other that we have done?  Why are we so precious?


            Well, why do you, why do we love our children?  Why are our children so precious to us? Is it because of what they do?  I don't think so.  Sure, there are many times that you are proud of your children's accomplishments.  But you love them even without their accomplishments. When you first held them as infants you could not believe you had so much love in you.  Yet, the baby did not do anything.  Why, then did you love that baby?  Why do you love your children?  You love them for whom they are, not for what they do.  Your child is your love for your spouse, now a unique person loving you back.  You see God's love in your child.  You see a reflection of God's beauty in your child.


            Why does God love us?  Why are we so precious to Him?  He loves us for whom we are, unique reflections of His love in the world.  He loves us because he sees in each of us the love He has for his Son, Jesus.  He loves us because each of us carries on the life of Jesus in the world.


            Jesus is the rock that has been rejected by the world but has become the cornerstone of the New World.  We are the living cornerstones.  The Church is the building of the spirit of God.  Jesus is the great high priest  who was rejected by the status quo and thrown out of the Temple, crucified outside the city.  We are the holy priesthood, people carrying on the priestly presence of the Lord making God present to others and others present to God. Jesus is the Light fo the World, the one who dispels the darkness of sin.  We are the light of the world.  Those who are called to bring hope and light to a world living in fear and darkness.


            We are precious to God because He sees his Son at work in us.


            Therefore, we have to be aware and attune to our dignity as children of God.  We have to treat ourselves and each other with the respect a child of God deserves.  There are many times that we are tempted to go along with a philosophy of life that treasures actions that are in themselves self destructive.  Every evening on TV the same basic steps are repeated: 1) A person looks for self gratification. 2) That person does not consider the impact of his or her actions upon himself or herself or upon anyone else. The person reasons that he or she has the right to this action. 3) The person's actions hurt themselves and those whom he or she loves the most. and 4) The person has lost respect for himself and for others. Fill in the blanks any immoral action you want: infidelity, greed, pride, or just plain selfishness, the result is always the same: the person loses his or her self respect. 


            I've done this in various degrees.  And I am sure that if you are honest, you have done this too.  I've started with thinking that something is OK for me, even if it isn't necessarily, totally proper:  maybe a bit of a lie, maybe a nasty remark, maybe something a lot worse.  Then I and you have witnessed the results of our actions and felt pretty low.  The only thing worse than being called a fool is knowing that it is true.


            Out of respect for myself, out of respect for yourself, out of respect for the dignity that God has given us in calling us to be children of God, out of respect for the precious image of his Son that you and I have been called to bring to the world, we have to avoid these self destructive situations.  We have to convince ourselves that it is just beneath our dignity to do this or that. 


            We are precious to the Lord.  We carry the image of his Son within us and among us.  We have to hold our heads up through the muck of society.  We have to have enough self respect to avoid degrading ourselves by giving in to what everyone else says is acceptable in this modern day but what we know is unacceptable in any day.


            We have to stand tall with the Lord.  For we are the Church, we are the royal priesthood, we are the people whom God has chosen to bring light to all who live in darkness.  May the choices we make in life be only those that reflect the dignity we have been gifted with by the Lord of Life.