God is love. We remember some years ago chatting with a wizened old missionary, who had worked for years in Belize. On the road constantly in his dilapidated jeep; numerous Masses at different mission stations all day on a Sunday and often having to transport sick Mayan children to the hospital in the middle of the night. He smiled gently and said, “You know there's one thing Paul didn’t say about love - it’s also often quite inconvenient!”
What could we add from our own experience? Love is self-forgetful; it is always toward the other. Love by its nature longs to express itself; it’s not neat and tidy; it cannot be contained. What is more love longs to be loved in return. Love is not self-sufficient but in need of the other, always toward. When I love I am vulnerable, easily hurt, easily elated. Love includes, it gathers, it blurs away differences. It shows no partiality but is convinced of our absolute connectedness as human persons made in God's own image. True loving is thus total and complete. This is what Jesus is trying to get at when he tells us today to be perfect as his Father is perfect - no one gets left out.
God has fallen in love with his creation, and there’s nothing left for Him to do but to continue to give everything. And that's just what God does in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Jesus God gives Godself completely to us always and especially in the Eucharist. In Christ the Father says to us, “All I have is yours.” “All I have is yours,” is another name for Jesus.
On the cross God’s measureless love is made perfectly clear. He can forgive because he knows we are all connected, absolutely. Because he could not bear to have us oppressed by sin and pain and death. And Love has the last word, as Jesus is raised up.
When we were lost and could not find the way home, God loved us more than ever and sent us his Son Jesus. He became lost on our behalf, to show us the way home to God in our connectedness. Jesus squandered his most precious life trusting in the Father’s promised mercy. He rose and returned to His Father and has taken us with Him. We must rejoice for we all were lost together and have been found by God in Christ forever. In the wounded and risen Christ, God rushes toward us to bring us home, embraces us and buries his beautiful face in the dirty crook of our necks.
Photograph by Brother Brian.