This gospel surely implies an invitation to us to welcome Jesus beyond any familiarity, to allow our-selves to be drawn more deeply into the mystery of God, beyond all imagery, beyond all need. When we do this (by simply expressing a desire for this, which then allows God truly to draw us), we “obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). We are set free to love as St. Paul describes in our second reading from his first letter to the Church in Corinth (read, by the way, by British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997): “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong-doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Divine love is our calling. Bear in mind, however, that this divine love is a gift, which transcends the natural capacity of the human heart, enabling us to love as Jesus wants us to love, and thus fulfill an otherwise impossible commandment: “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27). To love does not mean to like, and to love does not mean to tolerate injustice. But it does mean love…
Jesus’ surprising, unsettling, and liberating invitation extends to each and every one of us, “who are loved by God and called to be his holy people” (Romans 1:7). My continued prayer for us is that, more and more, we respond with great desire, so that our hearts expand, and we grow in love for one another, which will only make our community irresistible to us and to all those searching for a spiritual home.
Gratefully yours in Christ,