Spirituality of the Readings

Be Loved

Sunday’s Gospel is encouraging.

Jesus says,

Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid. (Gospel)

Yet most of us are afraid, even though God loves us in our tiniest details. God is infinite and has plenty of time and space for every person on earth. Maybe if we renew our Easter considerations we can reclaim our ability to receive the love of God.

We said that each human being is created to be a dwelling place for God and his love. Humans can never be truly human unless the greatest value in each of their lives is to receive the love of God and give it to the people around them.

I realize that culture would never buy such a proposition. On television we see people seeking ease, beauty, convenience, pleasure and so on. Quite often on cable channels and now on broadcast channels, one could conclude that the human person is made for one purpose only: sex.

Someone has said that commercials, without realizing it, are built to encourage the seven Capital Sins (pride, gluttony, avarice, lust, sloth, envy and anger). Jot down that list, put it by your chair, and put a mark by each one every time television promotes it.

But if each of us is created to be a place where God and his love can dwell, then any other fascination we have can be left aside if it begins to take over God’s place. So if I am attached to wealth, or my stamp collection, or my good looks, or my drugs, or even my mate—in a way that makes God’s love take second (or third or fiftieth) place—then my life is disordered.
  “Do you mean I have to love God alone and not care about my friends, my family, music, sports, food, health, etc.? I am not supposed to care about anything except God?”
No, no, that is not it. Healthy love of all creation is the goal. But everything has its roots in love of God. All things get their own individual value from God’s indwelling. Each person, each blade of grass receives its full value of love because it proceeds from God’s gentle hand.

So we can love them! And live a full human life!

I can hear the reader saying right now that such a task is too difficult. Too many things get in the way and we forget all about God—who is our source! Peter deserted Jesus at least three times, and he said, “Leave me, Lord, I am a sinful man.” How many times could you and I have uttered the same words?

Throughout the ages God has said, “If you sin, I will not leave you, I will love you.” The cross of Jesus is the ultimate statement of truth: that God’s love remains constant and dear, in spite of whatever sin there is in all of us and in each of us. God’s love will move us closer to our goal if we only let it.

If you sin, I will not leave you, I will love you.

Rejoice. No matter how few hairs you have on your head, God’s love does not go away. Receive it.

John Foley, SJ

Fr. John Foley, SJ is a composer and scholar at Saint Louis University.

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson