Today’s news headlines are filled with sadness, confusion, terror, fear, violence, hatred, prejudice and war. In addition, we have political division and animus at an all-time high. In these turbulent and contemptuous times, God will not let us down. God is love and when we respond to the headlines and to others with love, we will experience God. Please read more…..
God’s love is the rock on which we can cling to during the storms of life. In 1 John 4:7-12, we read that “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” I guess we could surmise from the headlines that our world is full of people who do not know God. We also read in 1 John 4:7-12, that it was precisely because this world is broken and full of pain that God, out of LOVE, sent His Son to save us from this world and from ourselves. We are also told that “if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” The headlines make it clear that we have a long way to go.
Everything God has ever done is out of love. From the creation of the world, to our creation, to our salvation through Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, these were all acts of love. God’s love is forever, it is unconditional and there is nothing we can do to lose His love.
In addition to loving us, God has also given us the ability to love. He has challenged us to respond to others and to the situations of our day with love. It is precisely because God is love that we must respond to others and to these challenges in a God-like fashion.
St. Paul makes clear the importance of love. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Paul tells us that if we speak without love, we are a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. He tells us that if we have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if we have all faith so as to move mountains but we do not have love, we are nothing. Finally, he says that if we give away everything we own, and if we hand our body over so that we may boast but do not have love, we gain nothing.
It would do us all good to reflect on these familiar words of St. Paul the next time the daily news delivers more stories of hate and evil. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
If we take an inventory of the many spiritual gifts that God has given us like: speaking in tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, and even self-sacrifice, we will find that none of these has value devoid of love. Love is superior to other virtues. Love never fails. Faith, hope and love form an important triad in the lives of Christians. But of these three, love is the greatest. In time, faith gives way to knowledge and understanding and hope gives way to fulfillment. Love on the other hand is permanent.
Recently at Sunday Mass I became acquainted with a new song. The song, HOLD ON TO LOVE, a collaborative effort by Jesse Manibusan and Ken Canedo is sung by Jesse. This beautiful song inspired me to write today’s message. The song’s lyrics appear in a litany like fashion. The lyrics contain a list of troubling things from the news. After each item this phrase is repeated: “HOLD ON TO LOVE.” Please take a moment and listen to this beautiful song. Even better, go online and buy this song and listen to it regularly.
Notice that the song lyrics could have been changed, substituting the word GOD for the word LOVE without changing any of the meaning. This is easy to understand because God is love and love is God. Here are three examples:
When terror and fear overwhelm us……hold on to love (GOD)
When violence seeks to destroy us…..hold on to love (GOD)
When hatred is used to divide us…..hold on to love (GOD)
As Christians we are called to make a difference in the world. We are called to change the world for God. The best way we can do this is to always react with Love. We must never let go of this truth: God loves us and we must love others! We must always HOLD ON TO LOVE!
Heavenly Father, your love for me is endless. You have expressed that love by sending your Son to save me. Now you call me to Love like you do. Give me the strength to love others especially those who are my enemies or who hurt me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!
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