St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

God is Love… (But what do we mean?)                            -Homily July 20/27, 2014

 

Jesus is the sower of the good seed. Jesus is the one who sows with tears: he performed the work of salvation with the Cross as an instrument. Jesus is the one who sows because he wants fruit, fruits of eternal life in the Garden of Heaven. Jesus sowed the seed of his word in the soil of our faith, and he wants to taste the fruit of our love for him.

 

Jesus works, and we are the fruit of his work. The work is hard, but the fruit is sweet. Jesus died the bitter death of the Cross, so that we may taste and see how good the Lord is, so that we may taste the sweetness of Heaven. In all this, we can see how great the love of God is for us

 

Many religions speak of the love of God, and it may seem that all of them are the same. It is not so. For us Christians, God is not any love, but the love of God manifested in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:39; 5:8). The love of God has a name: it is Mercy. It is the love through which our sins are forgiven. The love through which is offered to us the possibility of the perfect communion with God in Heaven.

 

1. Other people do not mean this when they speak about the love of God. Our God loves us, not just in any way, but through his own self-giving, through the donation of himself. Our God, in his tender love, does not give us just any gift. He doesn’t offer us success, health, food and comfort while we are on earth. He offers us eternal joy and eternal life, a joy that begins on earth and lasts forever, a joy that cannot be compared to anything else. He offers himself as the object of our enjoyment, he offers us all he is and he has, to be our possession forever. This is what we mean when we Christians say: “God is love.” The love of other gods is measured by the worldly gifts they give. The love of our God has no measure.

 

That is why we can ask in prayer whatever we want to our God. Because if God wants to give us Heaven, what wonder is it that he can give us something lesser for now? If he can give what is more, he can give what is less. But with other gifts we ask always: “if this is your will.” Because he is our Father and knows what is best for us. His principal gift, then, is the donation of himself in Heaven, it is his eternal love. That is the first thing we mean when we say: God is love.

 

2. Second and last point: the love of God has been manifested on the Cross of Jesus. God wanted us to enter in communion with him, but that was impossible for us. So he entered first into communion with our human nature, so that through him we could enter into communion with God. The Son of God became man so that man may become a son of God. But still, our sins made communion with God impossible for us. What is holy and what is sinful cannot be together. So Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, so that whoever believes in him and is bathed in his blood may be forgiven. Through faith and sacraments, we now have access to God, we can be saved, as Jesus said: “Whoever will believe and be baptized, will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

 

Why this last point is important? Because the love of God for us Christians is concrete. It is not only that God wants us to enter in communion with him, who knows how. He also offers us the concrete means to attain this communion. We could not attain God by our own means, because God is infinite and we are not. So God himself provided us with the means to arrive to him. These means are faith and sacraments. That is why the Christian God really loves us. He does not promise a happiness that is impossible for us, he makes it possible. He invites us to a beautiful Heaven, but he also shows the way to us. “I am the way,” says Jesus. He invites us to believe in him, to be baptized and to eat his flesh. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:54)

 

God is love. You don’t say that someone loves you if he invites you to his home and does not indicate you how to get there. Or if someone tells you to go on holiday but does not pay the travel expenses for you. Our God loves us because he invites us to Heaven, and because he indicates the way to us. Our God loves us because he promises the greatest gift, an eternal gift, an infinite gift, the gift of himself; and because he also gives us the concrete means to obtain and enjoy his gift. He promises the impossible, but he makes it possible, because “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).

 

May we never follow other gods. May we be faithful to our God. May we share with others our happiness, that there really is a God who truly loves! May we walk the way indicated by Jesus, the way of faith in his word, the way of the sacraments of the Church. Every time we come to Mass, we are a little closer to Heaven, we are a little closer to Jesus, and we go out to be a little closer to our neighbour.  –Fr. Andrew

 

 

 

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