Friday, April 22, 2011

He Can't Stop Loving Us

  As I was taking a walk this morning here in Conway, SC, I heard music coming from the open window of someone's home.  As I got closer I realized that it was the popular ballad I can't stop loving you. During my walk I was thinking about Good Friday, the Lord's Passion and what finishing touches I might make on my homily at this evening's Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord.  At first I felt the music as a distraction but then realized that if I took those words, "I can't stop loving you" out of the context of that song it was a perfect summary of what today is all about.

  At last night's Mass of the Lord's supper the account of the washing of the feet was read. (Jn 13, 1-15).  At the beginning of that passage we are told, "He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end."  Those words, I believe, are the key to understanding the suffering and death of Jesus, an indeed to understanding His mission here on earth.

  Some strains of theology would have us believe that he came to be punished for our sins.  This thinking prompts the oft raised question, "How can a loving God allow his Son to come to be killed?"  While He certainly suffered for us, it was the suffering of love.  His mission was to come in love and proclaim the reign of God.  Because Love met sin the cross resulted.  In other words the mockery, the rejection, the scourging and finally the savage death on the cross happen because He in love freely gave Himself over to us.  He could not stop  loving us.  In His dying Jesus does not get punished vicariously for us.  Rather  in His overwhelming and infinite love He takes on our sin, our pain, our brokenness and destroys it.  (For in in depth look at this thought you might consult pages 229-232 of the second book of Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict, as well as the theology of St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus in the Franciscan tradition.)

   And what might our response be to this.  With the first approach we often hear guilt as a response. To this latter approach I believe the response is a quiet, sorrowful, yet joyful,"Thank You"  In other words, Eucharist.

  May God give you peace!

1 comment:

  1. Did anyone listen to this very intriguing Open Message to Pope Benedict??