A perfect love

June 12, 2022

Jesus’ words to his disciples at the beginning of today’s Gospel—“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now” (John 16:12)—can be appreciated much more when we realize that they were spoken on the night before Jesus was arrested, tortured, put on trial, and condemned to death. He was right. They could not bear what they were about to witness. After all, they fled in fear as he was led away. The other evangelists portray Jesus’ wish that he did not have to bear it either, along with his resolve that his Father’s will be done, no matter how difficult. His trust in the One who sent him enabled him to bear the ultimate burden for all of us. That relationship between the Father and the Son that inspired such trust and confidence in the face of death is matched in their relationship with the Spirit as well. The mutual love each person of the Trinity has for the others is a model of the love we are called to give each other according to the greatest commandment. To love God with our whole heart, mind, strength, and being, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is to mirror the love of our triune God. God is love and love naturally seeks an object of its desire. The Father, Son, and Spirit are bound in a perfect love, love that can then be extended to humanity. Our love of humanity causes us to seek others to whom we can express that selfless, generous, and forgiving love that God lavishes upon us. Saint Paul speaks of afflictions, endurance, and character and he certainly grew in all three in his work as the preeminent apostle to the Gentiles. He knows well how these qualities lead to hope, the hope that is grounded in our faith and in God’s love for us. Paul describes that love being poured out into us, as a liquid would be, suggesting that it can flow into and out of us. As much as it was flowing into Paul from God, it was flowing out of Paul to people all over the world, from Antioch to Rome, to everywhere in between, and into their hearts, where it could then flow ever outward and onward. The Holy Spirit makes all of us channels of God’s love in the world. Amen. (Casey, Most Reverend Robert G. Pastoral Patterns. World Library Publication, 2022)

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