Today's First Reading comes from the Book of Wisdom. Probably written in the century before the birth of Jesus, Wisdom is one of the last books of the Old Testament to be composed. By this time, God has revealed much more of His character. He has shown more of His many facets and let His people catch glimpses of various elements of His personality. In this reading, for instance, God allows us to contemplate His gentleness.
The reading begins with a reminder: Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. God is larger than we can ever imagine. Compared to Him, the whole universe is a little, tiny drop or the smallest of grains. It is nothing at all, but God loves it anyway.
God can do all things, but He still chooses to have mercy on His creatures. He even overlooks people's sins so that they have time to repent. He does not smite them on the spot when they mess up; He turns the other way so they can recognize their sin and ask for forgiveness.
God does this because He loves His people. As the author of Wisdom assures us, God does not hate anything He has created. Our very existence depends on His will. If He were to stop thinking about us for even an instant, we would simply cease to be. Yet He never does that, for He wants us. He has created us, and He preserves us. He spares us, always ready to provide the second, third, and fourth chances we need (and even beyond).
We belong to God, the author continues. His spirit dwells within us. That's why, when we sin, He rebukes us little by little. Like a father, He guides us and warns us that we may turn away from sin and fall into His loving arms.
God is gentle with His children. His love and mercy shine forth in this little passage. Take some time today to reflect on how God has been gentle with you and how He has showered you in mercy and forgiveness.