How to Feel Like God

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Twenty-first century movie screens can often be windows into some of humanity’s worst depravities. By contrast, in the early 1930s, censors couldn’t abide—and therefore they cut—this one blasphemous line from a film aimed at general audiences:

“In the name of God, now I know what it’s like to BE God!”

This line was spoken by scientist Henry Frankenstein in the movie carrying his surname. He screamed it, actually, after seeing the previously dead hand of his stitched-together composite cadaver come to life. The censors considered this unthinkable. But if we’re to believe this Sunday’s Mass readings, it might be saying just what God wants for us—to know what it feels like to be God.

What’s it like to feel the mercy God shows the least among us? David found out what that’s like when he spared the life of Saul, his enemy, as this Sunday’s first Mass reading tells us (1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23). There lay Saul, sound asleep at David’s feet—seemingly delivered by God to the justice of the spear David took from Saul. But David resisted the temptation for revenge, and found another use for that spear.

David stood on a remote hilltop at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops. He said: “Here is the king’s spear. Let an attendant come over to get it. The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness. Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the LORD’s anointed.”

Sunday’s second reading (1 Cor 15:45-49) gives us another perspective on what it feels like to be God.  Paul encourages us to see through the eyes of the first Adam that God created—and then those of the Adam God became—so he could show us what it should feel like to be human.

It is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit.’ … Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

Humans were designed to feel like God—merciful and love-filled. The second Adam advises us about this through this Sunday’s gospel reading (Lk 6:27-38):

Love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

God is love, and mercy is how God lives. Let’s be God-like.

–Tom Andel.

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