Articles

Why I am interested in Return to God

WHY THE MAN WHO BECAME OUR SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR WAS DRAWN TO THE RETURN TO GOD APOSTOLATE

My interest in this group was kindled the first day I read about the group from an email. Reflecting on the mission of the group it immediately dawned on me that the mission of the group is what the church exists to do. Our Lord Jesus Christ established the Church so that we all have the opportunity to be reconciled with God after the fall of Adam and Eve. The mission of the group states: To be fed by God and to call ourselves, our Church, and our country back to God.

One cannot read this without recalling what St Augustine of Hippo says: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. There is no one who can feed us to satisfaction but God himself. That is why the first part of the mission talks about being fed by God. The Psalmist expresses this in a graphic manner in Psalm 23 when he says: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me: he refreshes my soul.

To call ourselves back to God is another way of reiterating the message of the prophets. What the prophet Joel says stands out: ‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ This appeal is timeless because humanity is always straying away from God. The Church and all nations are not left out of this appeal from God. The prophet Ezekiel had bad news for all irresponsible leaders: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? (Ez 34:2). As individuals, the Church and as nations in one way or the other, we have been selfish people, looking only after our own matters.

The hymn from William J. Kirkpatrick (1892) aptly describes where we find ourselves today: I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home; The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home. We have all wandered away from God and we need to return to God. There is no proper time for this than now. As St Paul says: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2Cor 6:2). It is never too late with God and it is never over. God constantly calls out: Come now, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow… If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land (Is 1:18-19). Through the cross, God has shown us the depth of his love. Look up to the cross and return to God.

Father Melchizedek Yumo