Love — Love — Love
“In God there is no partiality.” (Peter)
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God…
God IS LOVE.” (John)
“As the Father loves me,
so I also love you.
Remain in my love.” (Jesus)
So what part of LOVE don’t we get? As a matter of fact it is all over the New Testament that “God so loved the world he sent his only begotten Son.” And if love were not enough, we have JOY on top of it: “I have told you this that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.” Say what you might about the ’60s “hippies” and their “Peace, Love, and Joy Banners,” but in the end, their claim was not completely without foundation.
I spent the ’60s in Our Lady Queen of the Angels High School Seminary and St. John’s College Seminary. While we were confined to boarding school type living arrangements and wearing clerical garb, we were not really sheltered from all that was going on round us. I confess to being part of the “I’m OK, You’re OK” banner crowd, but my seminarian older brother, Bill, certainly was not. In college he threatened to make his own banner displaying a giant hand with a lightening bolt in it; the banner would read “You know not the day nor the hour!” (Bill, to his advantage, took life a little more seriously than I did in those days.)
So, “getting back to the future” as they say, what about today’s readings’ declaration of love and joy for all? Perhaps we might appreciate it in another common expression: “Love brought us here.” As we have gathered for Baptisms, First Holy Communions, and Confirmation, who would not make the claim that “love brought us here”? At last month’s Confirmation and this month’s celebrations of First Holy Communion, love and joy were definitely in the air. This month and next month will see graduations at every level, the result of untold amounts of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. Will the sacrifices of those who loved enough to help make it happen not be proclaimed by valedictorians and distinguished speakers at podiums throughout the land? Will joy not be a major part of the air that is breathed at each commencement site?
In the Easter Season, hands down, love and joy get the headlines. So does sending and commissioning. The season, after all, culminates in Pentecost and the birth of the Church. “It was not you who chose me, but I who appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” This is the part that comes right after the Confirmation party and right after all the graduates have left the gym. It is the LIVING part—the challenging part. Perhaps it is the unavoidable cross that is the part of LOVE that we don’t sometimes get. Jesus knew all of that only too well. He also fully understood that crosses and love are not mutually exclusive.