2Chr 36:14-17, 19-23; Eph 2:4-10; Jo 3:14-21
According to a Jewish legend, when God was about to create man, he consulted the angels about his throne: “Create him not,” said the Angel of Justice, “For he will commit all kinds of wickedness against his fellowmen, he will be bad and cruel and dishonest and unrighteous. The Angel of Truth said, “Create him not, for he will be false and deceitful for his brothers and sisters and even to you.” “Create him not,” said the Angel of Holiness, “He will follow that which is impure in your sight and dishonor you to your face.”
Then stepped forward the Angel of Mercy said, “Our Heavenly Father, create him, for he sins and turns from the path of right and truth and holiness, I’ll take him tenderly by the hand and speak loving words to him and then lead him back to you,” and God indeed created man following the counsel of the Angel of Mercy.
This story clearly illustrates Christ’s words in today’s gospel and one of the quoted passage in the Bible: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (v.16). And so God’s love is without condition.
I remember one time; I read in a Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper (March 8, 1997 p. C2) an article that featured Thalia, the famous soap opera singer/actress, authored by Mona Gonzalez about how Filipino people love Thalia.
For Filipino men, they love Thalia because she’s very pretty and she has supple body. For career Filipino women, they love Thalia because she’s genuinely good singer and performer.
For maids, the love Thalia because of the characters she plays. Like for example that famous TV drama Marimar or Maria Mercedez by which Thalia is the underdog but at the end of the show, she is the winner. For children of rich family, they love Thalia because their yayas (nanny) watched her in TV so they are free to go with their barkadas (friends).
How about God, how does God love us? As I quoted a while ago that His love is without condition.
According to Fr. Ruben Villote, there are two ways of loving. First is, loving as the world loves and second is Loving just as God loves. Loving as the world loves or this man’s way of loving is not new. From the beginning of time, people where already loving one another. That is why there are women who got pregnant without a father because of this word called love. Many men have children and all of them are eldest because of this word called love. Parents and children naturally love one another. Husbands and wives love one another. Boys love their girlfriends. Business partners, compatriots, pen pals say they love one another. Loving one another is as old as time. It was already there before Jesus became man and is talking about this.
A comparison was made about these two ways of loving. Below is how the world and we love:
I love you because you love me
I love you because I need you
I love you because you are good to me
I love you because I feel good loving you
I love you are cute, rich, popular and powerful
I love you because I can use you, manipulate you and exploit you
for my own interest.
This kind of love has conditions and is limited, not permanent. If you don’t have these characteristics anymore, do they still love you? No way!
But, as God loves us, it is like this:
Even if you don’t like me, I still love you
Even if you refuse to forgive me, I still love you
Even if I don’t need you anymore, I still love you
Even if I don’t feel loving you because you are no longer cute and
desirable, I still love
Even if you are no longer in power, or rich or have no use of you
I still love you
Even if I do not get anything out of loving you, even if I look ridiculous
for loving you, I still love.
Loving as God loves does not mean approving one’s wrongdoing or ignoring the requirement of justice. It means not wishing the person ill and not telling lies about him. It means trying to understand him, trying to feel what he feels and allowing Jesus in you and me to forgive him. Fr. John Powell, SJ in his book, Free To Be Me, said: “I want to love you. That is all… If you chose to leave me, I’ll not stop you. I will leave you free, but I will always love you. There may be a time in your life when you will separate yourself from my love but never believe that you have lost my love, you can only refuse, but you can never lose my love.” For me, these words are reflections of God’s love.
And so what kind of love do we have and are practiced?
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B
Back to: Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B)