A LOVE THAT NEVER FAILS
(A biblical refection on THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – May 12, 2013)
Gospel Reading: John 17:20-26
First Reading: Acts 7:55-60; Psalms: Ps 97:1-2,6-7,9; Second Reading: Rev 22:12-14,16-17,20
“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and Thou in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them even as Thou hast loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast has given Me, may be with Me where I am, to behold My glory which Thou hast given Me in Thy love for Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known Thee, but I have known Thee; and these know that Thou hast Me. I made known to them Thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (Jn 17:20-26 RSV)
Who could have imagined such love? Knowing He must soon die a terrible death, Jesus asked His Father to pour out on us the love of the Holy Spirit, the very love God Himself had for Jesus from all eternity. “I made known to them Thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn 17:26). It is both astounding and humbling, to think that there is no distinction at all in God’s love.
Think for a moment about how deeply God loves His Son. It was out of love for Him that God determined to present all creation to Jesus: “… all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16). God so loved Him that at Jesus’ baptism He joyfully declared before all, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17).
Jesus knew His Father’s love intimately, and it was this love that motivated His every action while He was with us: “… the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing; for whatever He does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all that He Himself is doing” (Jn 5:19-20). Jesus was so filled with the Father’s love that He was able to embrace all the cruelty and agony of the cross to win our salvation.
By the power of this cross, Jesus has crucified our fallen nature and freed us to be filled with the same love of God that He Himself experiences. This is a passionate love, powerful enough to soften the hardest of hearts and transform all of us into a people who love as deeply as God loves. This is an all-inclusive love, capable of breaking down every barrier of suspicion, resentment, and fear that keeps us separated from each other. This is a love that never fails, for the Father is always looking upon us in love, wanting only to bless and strengthen us as we turn to Him.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, in these days before Pentecost, fill everyone with an experience of God’s great love. Free us from fear and selfishness and replace it with the love of the Trinity, so that we can be one with God and one with all our sisters and brothers. Raise us up as witnesses to the world, inviting everyone to discover God’s transforming love available through Christ our Savior. Amen.
Jakarta, May 11, 2013
A Christian Pilgrim