Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

“God so loved the world:” sometimes we can forget this. If God so loves the world, then he loves us, he loves me. I am loved, and someone—and not just any someone, but the only-begotten Son of God—loves me so much that he prefers my life to his own. He gave his life so that, believing in him, I “might not perish but might have eternal life.”

“God so loved the world.” I forget this whenever I refuse to love as God loves. I forget this every time I condemn my neighbor in my heart. In rejecting my neighbor, I reject God, since this neighbor, whom I reject, is the one whose life Christ preferred to his own. When I kill my neighbor in my heart by turning away from him, when I slice him to pieces through my passive-aggressive, sarcastic, or otherwise demeaning comments or gossip, then I condemn the one that Christ died to save. Can I truly say that I love Christ, if I hate the one for whom he gave his life? It is not enough to say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” if I refuse to love others with the same love that I have received through his resurrection (Cf. Mt 7:21). “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

There is nothing more beautiful than to love the one that Christ loves with the love with which I have been loved by Christ. This is the fullness of life that Jesus offers us through his resurrection. And yet, as Plato observes, “χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά,” “beautiful things are difficult.” This is the challenge of the resurrection: living out the love that we receive from the resurrection will, in a fallen world, inevitably lead us back to the cross. But empowered by the new life that is offered us, we can ask for the strength to live from this new life instead of hardening our hearts or running away, as we have done in the past. But, we cannot live from this beauty without God’s help. Moved by the love God shows for us, we should bring our darkness to Christ’s light. If we let that light abide within us, the darkness will be no more. Then we can live in the truth of Christ’s light, so that those works of love that he makes possible within us “may be clearly seen as done in God.”

April 15th, 2015