People who love are often eager to offer reasons for their affection. Reasons make declarations of love credible. A person unexpectedly touched by another’s love is typically moved to ask, “Why do you love me?”

Alone, of all the beings who Love, God has no reasons. He does not love us because we are good or kind or faithful. He does not limit His love to the virtuous. But, He patiently woos the villains and misfits of our race as gently as His Saints.

God loves us because He is love. Love without motive. Love without discrimination. That kind of love is difficult for human beings to accept. From childhood, we work at being lovable. We put our best efforts into becoming kind or successful; beautiful or good.

Parents who love their children do not draw limits to their affection. But they do draw limits on childish behavior. No father who truly cares for their child allows them to play with a knife. No mother will hesitate to discipline a child who keeps running out into the road. Children are protected by toughness as well as tenderness.

But somewhere along the line, the child is to make a clear choice. The parents’ love is clear and constant, but the child is forced to decide to accept it and allow love to provide meaning and direction to life. Today’s Gospel presents that same challenge.

Our God loves His world. He constantly surrenders His heart to His children. To you and me. But the burden of acceptance is ours. We can embrace the tenderness He extends and become the loving, lovable people that He intends us to be.

But we can just as easily refuse and pursue our own standards, ruthlessly sacrificing others to clear our path to success, wealth and power.

To be loved without any reason at all seems to nullify all our hard work. What use is it to try and become lovable in God’s eyes if He is willing to love the sinner as dearly as He loves the Saint? In the early Church, there was a heresy which claimed people can earn salvation by their own efforts. By our virtuous decisions and actions alone we can make ourselves worthy of God’s love.

Today’s Gospel challenges that widespread belief, by flatly saying, “It is because God so loved the world, He gave His only Son.”

Many centuries ago, St. Augustine offered another approach to faith in God’s love. He said, “Loving me made me lovable.” Augustine knew nothing about modern psychological theory. But he anticipated it, by many centuries.

Human beings become loving and lovable people when their lives are cradled from birth in tenderness and acceptance, surrounded by the simple gestures with which human beings communicate love in credible terms. Loving touch, words of affirmation.

St. Paul tells us we were still helpless when at His appointed moment, Christ died for sinful people. It is not easy to die, even for good people. Yet, of course, for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die.

But what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us, while we were still sinners.

Receive Fr. Bob’s Weekly Reflection in your inbox!

"*" indicates required fields


One thought on “Fr. Bob’s Homily – Fourth Sunday of Lent

  1. I read all of your reflections; they bring hope to me who has struggled with a son’s suicide and daughter’s failed marriage….and the enduring strugle with OCD for over 40 yrs…since my elementary and HS years…….your words are always hope filled

Comments are closed.