Homily by Father Paul Wharton
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lit a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, the marks of the spear, and finally the wounds in his feet. After a few moments of absolute silence, he blew out the candle and left the church. There was nothing else to say.
As effective and memorable as that might have been, usually preachers are expected to say more. Saint John the Evangelist emphasizes the love of God again and again in his Gospel and Letters. Here are just a few insights. THE LOVE OF GOD IS///
- EXTRAVAGANT for everyone of every time, place, age, and nationality. As Saint Peter proclaimed and preached, “God shows no partiality.” Some believed Jesus only came for the Jews. Some believe the Church is only for saints. Not so! Our God is like the Prodigal father and good shepherd Jesus talks about us. As Jesus says earlier in John’s Gospel, “God so loved the world.”
- EMPOWERING for those who open their minds and hearts. Missionaries have gone to the ends of the earth, martyrs bravely face death, and devout disciples continue to live and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Saint Paul speaks about the love of Christ compelling us (2 Corinthians 5:14).
- EVERYWHERE yesterday, today, and forever. Psalm 139 says there is no place we can go where the presence and love of God cannot be found. Be sure to remember the last promise Jesus makes before he ascends to heaven.
- and finally, the love of God is ETERNAL. St. Paul writes his most positive and hope-filled letter from prison in a Rome sometime before he was put to death. In his Letter to the Romans, he boldly proclaims, no one or no thing will be able separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus the Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
There you have it. The love of God IS extravagant, empowering, everywhere, and eternal. I have only just begun to scratch the surface of what can be said.
However, remember, believe, know and don’t forget that with all this wondrous love comes the commandment in today’s gospel: “Love one another as I have loved you.” . . . . . . . .
Do we really?