Dear Parishioners & Visitors,
"God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ-by grace you have been saved-,raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus."
We all hunger for love! Even when we are not willing to acknowledge it, because we are so full of ourselves and believe in our self-sufficiency, we still hunger for love. Our need for love is so deeply ingrained in us, that at times we try to find it no matter what. We want to be loved. We want to experience the warmth and intimacy that surrounds us when we know that we are being loved. That is why the experience of falling in love is so important at some stages of our life. We need not to be young in order to search for love. At every age we all feel the need to feel and surround our lives with love.
It is out of our human experience and need for love that we come to discover and appreciate the most important love in our lives: the love of God. The greatest difference between human and divine love is that human love sometimes is the result of our own efforts. However, divine love comes to us freely, without us having to work or merit for it. God's love is given to us as a gift even before we were able to realize that we were being loved. And God loves us unconditionally. There are not prior requisites to being loved by God.
How strong and committed is God's love? In our personal experience we know at times of the fickleness of human love. Love sometimes professed with strong words and promises of eternal commitment fizzle in sad cases as mist under the sun. God's love toward us is a different kind. In today's Gospel reading the apostle John portrays the kind of love God has for us: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." God's love for us moved him to surrender his own Son's life for our salvation. The person of Jesus is therefore the sure sign of God's committed love for us.
Let us open our lives to the love of God presented in the person of Jesus. This Lenten season ought to be a time to rediscover that we are being loved with an unconditional love, which is offered to us without merits from our part. Let us not be afraid to accept God's love. Once we allow that love to surround us, we will come to discover what real love is; a love that lasts forever, a love which is stronger than death.
-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P