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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
God's love for us...
The first part of the first reading is beautiful. "You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced; you have overpowered me: you were the stronger". We are made in love by God, our hearts are made to love, and until we rest in the love of God we are always restless. The whole of history is the story of God speaking to us, calling us, in love to love. Those words are the words of each of us who through the example of our parents, by the light of our intellect, by the grace of God have through the sacraments come to know and accept God's love for us in Christ. "You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced; you have overpowered me: you were the stronger."
This love makes demands. Our Lord is clear. The cross is part of love. So like Jeremiah we may decide "I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name any more." But what happens "Then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not bear it".
That speaks to any of us who have turned from God's love, who have tried to forget God or our duty to him. It leaves us restless and unsatisfied. Call it guilt, call it remorse call it sorrow, call it what you will, but it is that unhappy restlessness that comes from denying our love and our lover.
... and our response
What can our response to love be - but love? And what does love involve? In the end love involves sacrificing the most valuable thing we have, ourselves. If you love, you give yourself to the one you love. And so St. Paul says: "worship him, I beg you, in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God". Respond to love with love. It is the only way to happiness. Love costs, love hurts, because love has to involve sacrifice. To try and love without sacrifice, without suffering, without cost is diabolical. When Peter suggests to Jesus that he should not suffer and die Jesus says "get behind me Satan". A world without sacrifice and suffering is a world with out love.
If on reflection you think that your love for God has dulled, that perhaps, apart from what you should be doing, there is no genuine sacrifice in your life, by that I mean, there is nothing extra you do which springs from the desire to love the one who loves you so much, then may I suggest an extra mass each week, or an hour with him who loves us in the Blessed Sacrament? It is hard, it is difficult, it costs - it is a self offering - anything else is not love.
Having been baptised and having received the sacraments, there is no escaping the word of the psalm which express our very being: 'For you my soul is thirsting O Lord my God'.