Monday, May 7, 2012
The World Must know that I love the Father
In today's Gospel, Jesus declares that "the world must know that I love the Father." As it is for Christ, so it must be for us! We must show the world that we love the Father! This love, a deep and abiding love, full of confidence should come from within and be natural to us. Christ Himself is wanting to give this love and the Holy Spirit is inspiring it in our hearts. We must, therefore, learn to recognize this love and today's readings give indicate two ways of doing this.
When Christ says that the world must know that he loves the Father, he is alluding to the Crucifixion. It is there, laid out on the Cross that the Love of Christ is poured out for the whole world! It is there, in obedience to the Father, that Christ gave up his life. Love for life did not hold him back! Rather, by sacrificing his life in love, he demonstrates that the Father's love is better than life.
St. Paul also demonstrates this love for the Father. Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to where Paul was staying, stoned him and drug him out of the city, supposing he was dead. The Jews thought that St. Paul was dead! Do you see what St. Paul suffered? But he was no lunatic! To St. Paul, this was nothing compared to the love that he had found in Jesus Christ! If only we had that same love! We also should be willing to suffer with Christ, and so show our love of the Father to the whole world. When St. Paul recovered from near death, what did he do? He didn't give up on his mission from God. He persevered. He did not think that God had abandoned him during this trial. Rather, he got up and entered the city again! Do you see the courage that he had? This courage comes from grace.
At the end of the first reading, St. Paul shares his thankfulness for all that God had done. Despite all of his trials, St. Paul is thankful that he had been called into the Church of Christ, which we call the Catholic Church. He comes back and shares what God had done with them. That is, he gave the credit for his mighty works to God. He proclaimed to the disciples that Father's love for him and that he loved the Father in return. Despite all of his sufferings, nay because of the Father's faithfulness in his sufferings, St. Paul only grew ever closer to the Father. Undoubtedly, knowing the everything works for the good of those who love God because God has the whole world under his providence, St. Paul gave thanks to the Father for Everything that happened to him, just as the Psalmist told us today, "Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you!"
We, my brothers and sisters are also the works of the Lord. Works in progress for sure, but also some of His finest master pieces! He is forming you and shaping you into the image of the Son, so today, today! Let yourself be led by the Spirit into a deeper appreciation of the Cross. I said appreciation, for the Cross should lead you to thankfulness! By the Cross, God has honored you by enabling you to share in the Crucifixion of Christ, his humble obedience, his humble thankfulness, His great love. The world must know that we love Father. Amen.