Love of God

Instruments of the Kingdom – Studies in Luke 1:5-25

Instruments of the Kingdom – Studies in Luke 1:5-25

However, we must not imagine that, in being used so powerfully by the Lord, these men and women were merely His instruments, as if their own lives, their own stories and wounds did not matter in the light of the larger purposes of God’s Kingdom. Their lives mattered every bit as much as those whom Jesus was later to heal and deliver in his earthly ministry. They mattered because they, too, were to be the beneficiaries of that ministry; and because it is in healing and deliverance that the fruits of His Kingdom are made known.

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Love Does – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fifth Sunday in Easter

Love Does – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fifth Sunday in Easter

Therefore, as Paul says in I Corinthians, “Make love your aim”(14:1). But let us make sure it is the real thing, an objective act and not just a subjective feeling. For just as our hearts can condemn us they can also falsely comfort. Just to feel love is not sufficient. Love must not be only in “word and speech but in deed and truth.” The verse immediately preceding this one makes this abundantly clear: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”(v 17) Love acts, love does, or it is not love.

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What Love! – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What Love! – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“He does not interact with us as a master to his servants (though he would have every right to do so), nor does he relate to us as an aloof king to his subjects. No, God loves each one of us deeply and personally, so much so that he has adopted us and made us his children. He interacts with us precisely in the way the best father in the world would interact with each of his children: with a unique love for each and every one of us in which he cares about absolutely every aspect of our lives…

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For Our Sake and for Our Salvation – Gospel in Preparation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

For Our Sake and for Our Salvation – Gospel in Preparation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Whatever mystery enfolds the cross, these things we know clearly: He went deliberately; He did it for us; and He did it for the atonement of our sins and for our salvation. In John 10 Jesus tells his disciples , “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…no one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord”. In Isaiah 53 we are told why:

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed”

As the Creed says so simply and eloquently, it was “for our sake and our salvation”.

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Taking God’s Word to Heart – First Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Taking God’s Word to Heart – First Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Curiously we know what happened to the king and the Ninevites (at least to a certain extent), but we don’t know what happened to Jonah in the end. We have only the Lord’s questions to Jonah, but not his responses. It is as if the author is inviting us to put ourselves in his shoes to not only be challenged by the Lord’s questions, but also transformed by his love.

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Wild Grapes – First Reading of the Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wild Grapes – First Reading of the Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

But he did not want from her the “grapes” of slavish duty as if to a set of external regulations. Rather he wanted to see in her–as he wants to see in us–the natural fruit of love responding to love, a response that says through every word, every action “All this he has done for me, what can I do for him?” We cannot have such an attitude without first cultivating in our hearts a deep sense of gratitude for all the ways in which he has already and continues to pour out his love and grace into our hearts both generally (by creating us, revealing himself to us, sending his Son to die for us, etc) and specifically. What would be on your list?

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Not Fair – First Reading of the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Not Fair – First Reading of the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Fairness would only demand that the wicked are punished and the righteous rewarded, each for their own behavior. However, with God, “if the wicked should turn away from all their sin… and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live.”(v. 21) Not only is he not unfair, he is gracious, merciful, and forgiving. As he says in the last verse of this chapter, “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord. Turn then, and live”(v.32)

…God not fair? Of course he is! Fair and more. God is love.”

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What Wondrous Love – Gospel for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

What Wondrous Love – Gospel for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

We must begin with wonder and awe, such as that captured beautifully in the Great American Folk Hymn we all know so well:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

And then we must order our lives wholly and completely to the humility we see exemplified in Christ’s work on the cross, and the love that is poured out through it. After all, if God has not spared his most precious Son out of love for us, is there anything he won’t do for us? (Romans 8:31-32) And is there anything that we should ever withhold from him? God’s love revealed on the Cross was the basis of Paul’s confident hope in the face of “hardship, distress, persecution, famine nakedness, peril or the sword” that “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Should it not be ours as well?

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A Debt of Love – Second Reading of the Twenty Third Week in Ordinary Time

A Debt of Love – Second Reading of the Twenty Third Week in Ordinary Time

As such, this love cannot be limited to simple feeling or emotion; it must be expressed in concrete deeds of restraint and positive service. It means both doing no harm to our neighbor (by not stealing, committing adultery, lying, etc), as well as going out of our way to positively serve and meet their needs–friend and foe!–for Jesus has also said that whatever we do not do to the least, we do no do to him.

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Indomitable Love – Second Reading of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Indomitable Love – Second Reading of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Not even our sin separates us from his love. It destroys our relationship, yes, but it does not end His love nor His willingness to die in order to restore that relationship. Paul’s confidence, born of the cross, is simply this: “He who did not spare his only son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” (v32).

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