How do we know, beyond a doubt, that God truly loves us and wants us to live in true communion with him forever? We hear the answer to that in the passage from the Gospel of John today: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
God proved his love for us by giving us the best he had to offer - his only begotten Son who freely gave himself and who invites each one of us to do the same, to contribute to building up the Reign of God here and now.
This passage tells us of the immense dimension of God's love, not an excluding love for just a few or for a single nation, but an extravagant love that embraces the whole world, while remaining a personal love for each and every individual whom God has created.
The divine love reaches out and embraces each and every person and the whole person, not simply the “soul”, but the entire person. Can we say the same of our love? God is the source of all love, God is relationships, God is true and full communion; the Church is called to be an instrument of God’s love, of divine communion. Saint Augustine says: God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love. Our God gives us the freedom to choose whom and what we will love.
What we love demonstrates what we prefer. Do you love God above all else? How else to respond to God’s love and predilection for each one of us but to love and cherish the world and every creature in it as beloved of God.
If we take this response seriously, it will be an all-consuming challenge. We might take it in the direction of global warming and care for the earth. Or we might dedicate time and energy to address poverty or hunger which disfigure the masterpiece of God’s creation. We are commissioned to become co-creators of a better world for everyone.
Opportunities stretch from our doorstep around the globe. We might conclude that we are too busy to make it our business to accept this mission. Certainly the invitation, the call, the challenge is clearly stated during this sacred moment we are living as Lent: the more we relate, the more truly human we are. The more we share who and what we are, the more truly Christian (Christ-like) we become.
Whom do I truly love: do I love myself, do I love my Creator, do I love the entire human family and every member of it, do I love the rest of God’s good creation?
Rev. Art Purcaro, OSA
Mission and Ministry