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Pastor’s Corner 5.5.2024

God Is Love

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

            Someone recently asked me why I preach about love so much.  I was a little taken aback by the question. I thought, how could I not preach about love?  Afterall, love is a key theme of the Gospel.  English has only one word for love and it has often been sentimentalized.  But biblical love demands courage and commitment.  To love like Jesus loves remains an ongoing challenge for many, including me.  When people share with me their struggles with sin, family problems or relationship issues, the issue almost always boils down to a failure on someone’s part to love the way God calls us to love.

            Today’s readings speak a lot about love.  In the second reading, St. John says, “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”  St. John doesn’t just say that God loves, but that God IS love.  To know genuine love is, in a sense, to know God.  In Jesus, God poured Himself completely out for our good, for our salvation.  True love wills the good of the beloved.

            The Gospel for this week recounts Jesus’ statement to His disciples, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”  The Lord demands that we not only love, but love in a specific way.  We are called to love like Jesus loved.  Yikes!  That seems like a pretty tall order.

            The truth is that we cannot love like Jesus commands us to love on our own.  We need His help.  That is why we pray for the grace to love as we ought.  That is why marriage is a Sacrament that provides divine help to spouses so that they might overcome their selfish tendencies and offer their lives as a gift to their spouse.  That is why the Sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist make available for us encounters with the healing and saving power of Jesus so that we might be changed and begin to imitate Jesus in how we live our lives.

            To love like Jesus relies on what we call “grace”, the power of God’s love and life at work in us.  Yet, God never makes us something we don’t want to be.  He provides the grace, but we must cooperate with it.  We must want to love as Jesus loves and try, as best we can, to practice such love.  If we really want to love rightly, we can trust that God will provide where we fall short. 

            I guess I do preach a lot about love and will likely continue to do so because it is at the heart of the Gospel and is the challenge the Lord places before all who call themselves disciples.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,