ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - January 14, 2021 - 12:00am

My main companion at home has been my transistor radio broadcasting daily masses since the start of the quarantine because of the pandemic. And I am always used to it. It was so frustrating at first, because we could not observe the actual ceremonies taking place inside the church, and the usual interaction with the priests and fellow churchgoers. But then again, the situation calls for it which supports the idea to hear a mass, say a prayer anywhere, everywhere.

The tremendous danger of holding worship meetings in churches has been seen by our church authorities at least. As they take it as a resource to seek moral advice, to aid in times of trouble, we cannot stop the faithful from attending. And no amount of reminding them that protocols need to be followed will not only be accommodated by such a large number of religious adherents.

God is omnipresent, after all. He is ubiquitous, capable of simultaneously being anywhere. The entirety of the world contains his divine presence. There's no place he doesn't inhabit. Wherever, whenever and whatever we do, God is with us. In each and every heart of us, He lives.

In the biblical interpretation of God's omnipresence, both in Christianity and in Judaism, we have two other principles: transcendence and immanence. These theories allow us to understand the beauty and mystery of God's omnipresence.

God is entirely different in transcendence, beyond the physical laws of His conception, of the natural universe. He rises above space and time and exceeds them. Though he upholds all things, He will never need someone to uphold Him! Being transcendent, God is so beyond us that we would not know Him if He did not reveal Himself to us. So, our human thoughts and ways are beneath Him. So below His are our human thoughts and ways. The Bible states that His presence is so great that in our holy places He cannot be "contained," for His glory is above the heavens.

But within His creation, this same God is "immanent" or present. He is close to us, in time and space, completely present. It can be seen that He is both near and far away. This God, who, because of our sin and His holiness, must remain separate from us, chooses to draw close to us through Christ, who broke down the barrier of separation.

The God who keeps all things together chooses, through His beloved ones, to be ever-present. We live, move and have our being in Jesus, and the Lord is "not far" from us. By the indwelling Holy Spirit, but also in the presence of Jesus Christ and the Lord, we receive guidance and provision.

God is continually present, but He does not always choose to show Himself. And sometimes He doesn't show Himself in the same way or at the same time to every person. The Bible states that in troublesome times, God is our "very present help." For instance, to those who call upon His name and to those who pray for others, He makes Himself known.

For believers, the great truth is that God will always be with us, even to the end of time. He is the God of yesterday, today and forever.

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