Here I am again today, pondering these readings, asking myself, “What are these saying to me?” and bumping up against the truth that I can never seem to get a hold of: God loves me desperately, passionately; not the kind of love that we see in movies and read in novels. The love of God is most expressed in the death of Christ. God loves us with an intense love. God pursues us. God loves me, and you, enough to choose us before the world began and to adopt us as his sons and daughters. And, ultimately, loved us enough to redeem us and forgive our sins. I could go on and on about how difficult this is for me to grasp. I often only love myself when I’m having a good day and being particularly loving, and seemingly getting it all right, when I’m “earning” it. But, to flirt with the idea that God chose me, chooses me, and pursues me, just because I am, is almost too much.
I can certainly relate to the scribes and the Pharisees in today’s Gospel. Is it an understatement to say that God is chastising them? So what, Christ didn’t love them? I think it must be quite the contrary. Whom the Lord loves he chastens, and if we’ll never be broken, we’ll never be saved. I was having lunch yesterday with a dear friend who is a very balanced, gentle soul, and he said, “You know Lori, I’m not going to write people off just because they are different from me and because they hold different views than I do. That’s not loving like Christ.” Wow. I was so convicted because, unknown to my friend, I had been spending a great deal of time recently writing people off. I have been quick to judge and slow to love. I knew it was high time to look again at the life of Christ, to once again be saved. Being loved by God is one of the most painful things in the world, but it’s also the only thing that can bring us salvation.
Many times I have heard people say that we are put on earth to learn
to love. I can’t deny that. Are we not also here to learn how
to be loved? Maybe learning to be loved and allowing God’s love to
fill us is as difficult as learning to love. In the end, the knowledge
of this love, I’m convinced, will save us. Maybe then we “all might
praise the divine favor he has bestowed on us in his beloved,” and as Julian
of Norwich said, "maybe we can believe that the greatest honor we can give
to God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of His love.”
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