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Something to think and pray about this week
What Makes God Love Us?
It is good to be law-abiding and dependable. But it is bad to think that this makes God love us! Why so? Because Jesus shows us something totally different and we need again and again to be shocked by God’s upside-down ways of viewing things. Jesus reveals God’s strange point of view by associating with the rejects and the despised of his society. The poor, the sick, the possessed, the non-nationals are his table-companions. So too are women, tax-collectors, prostitutes. Add in for good measure the ‘accursed crowd’ who don’t know the law (John 7:49), and you have a thoroughly disreputable bunch!
But these are in fact the associates of the Son of God. The message is that God’s special compassion is for the poor, for the despised and the unwanted. God’s heart is drawn first to those at the bottom of the human pyramid, so Jesus has his eye out for them first.
This means that God seems to love people just as they are, in all their inadequacy and brokenness. We don’t earn God’s love, because we don’t have to! We are already totally loved. This leaves the law-abiding and dependable at a loss until they see that divine love is never merited. They are then challenged to abandon their self-sufficiency, and to respond gratefully to this gratuitous love. They must then love their unlovable neighbour in the same way as God loves them. This, says God, is my best plan for the transformation of human society!
Adapted from Gerry O’Hanlon SJ: A Renewed Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Dublin, Messenger Publications, 1992.