“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” True and unconditional love, the kind that is pure and righteous, sacrificial and selfless, the love that comes from God, the love only he can give, really astounds us and at times even surprises and baffles us. Not because God chooses or desires to confuse or trick us. His love, although most profound, is not complicated but rather simplistic and innocent in nature. But because of our own deep rooted self-centeredness, we are unable to fully grasp the love of God. Because we are so “me-centered” we are not able to fully understand or comprehend God’s total love for us and therefore, we are unable and perhaps even unwilling to surrender even some of ourselves to the possibility of experiencing the most profound and amazing gift known to all humanity; the greatest gift afforded to mankind for all eternity which is God’s divine love. It is that kind of love that leaves us breathless yet it is the only breath we wish to breathe in. It is the kind of love that is totally free. It can’t be earned or bought or traded. This kind of love lives always for the other. It is never selfish or self serving or self interested. God’s love does not make any demands other than if you are going to love as Christ did, that is with all his Sacred Heart, with every part of his Precious Body, with the mind of the Father and the soul of the Spirit and as humanly possibly, then we are to love simply, freely and willingly with all our heart, mind, body, and soul and our very being. It should make us wonder, seriously, who can love like that? In reflecting on our lives, our thoughts, words and actions and how we live out the gift of our existence it should make us question: “Why would anyone love us like that?” “Can I really love like that?” “Can I truly receive love like that?” “Can I selflessly share love like that?” What might challenge or even scare us, is that to have the awesome yet terrifying power to say yes or no to God. To either accept him or to reject his gift. To receive him or to deny his love. To participate in his life or to decline his graciousness. What an awesome yet terrifying power that comes with the free gift of love. May we more freely receive God’s gracious gift and in the freedom Christ has won for us, freely share God’s love with one another.
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time