Made in the Image of God

Made in the Image of God

BY ED SLOANE | September 18, 2023
Sunday’s Readings

As I reflect on Sirach’s counsel and Jesus’ parable concerning forgiveness, I am mindful that my reflection appears a week after September 11, a day of mourning and lament for those in the United States as we remember the terrorist attacks that occurred on this day in 2001. A week ago, on September 11, my class of high school seniors and I were discussing the theme of human dignity and the human person, a central tenet of Catholic Social Teaching. We were reflecting on the question, “What does it mean to be human in a world with others?” How do we meet the joy and challenge of knowing that we are created in the image of God in a diverse world?

It is easy to tell myself I am made in the image of God and God looks at me and says, “Eddie, you are very good.” I can smile knowing this goodness is God’s gift to me prior to anything I do, and that nothing I do can take it away. It is less easy, sometimes, to see this goodness in others, especially when they have caused me, or those I love, harm.

Like my senior class, I was a senior in high school on September 11, 2001. I was still learning to see myself as beloved by God. I worked at a record store at the mall, and I remember being troubled by the onslaught of patriotic CDs and xenophobic merchandise that quickly appeared on our shelves as well as similar rhetoric that dominated the news cycle.

As our nation rushed to war, my heart longed for understanding. Jesus points us towards forgiveness as another way of wielding power. Forgiveness does not exclude justice; rather, forgiveness is the companion of justice and informs our search for justice. Forgiveness allows love to shape the content of justice. And as I remind my classes every day, God is Love.

For Reflection:

  • Do you perceive the image of God in yourself? What do you do when you may struggle to perceive it in others?
3 replies
  1. sonja
    sonja says:

    For me, it is often easier to see God in others than myself. I am my own harshest critic at times and forget I was made perfect in God’s eyes.

  2. Eileen Quinn Knight Knight
    Eileen Quinn Knight Knight says:

    I perceive of the image of God in myself when I am at prayer with others. The gift of being generous and kind is manifest in how I am with others. The letter of St. Paul when we know there are a ‘variety of gifts’ makes me realize the gifts God has given me and I am grateful. The gift of Faith that I have is shared with others and is shared with me. Sometimes in Church people stop and ask for my prayers and I say I will, I do, but I ask them to come back and let me know how that prayer has been answered.
    The reflection by Ed focuses me on my humanity and how with all the conversation about humanness, that is certainly a gift God gave to all of us. With all the horrors around us, it is sometimes masked by our fears. We are humans and God took on that human form for all of us.
    He loves me in my humanity and striving to be more present to him in my daily life. This day I will be more aware of God’s directing me to assisting others.

  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi.


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