Reading 1 Rv 15:1-4
Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 7-8, 9
Gospel Lk 21:12-19
The Gospel passage for today tells us of the cost of loving God. Even in the human level, we know and we have learned from experience that true love and friendship impose demands on each other. It is no different in our relationship with God. God loves us – each and everyone of us – very much. He expects us to love him in return. And what does that entail? Sacrifice and the cross – the way Christ manifested to us his love for the Father.
Sacrifice involves voluntary surrender of things that we enjoy in life. Like giving up a favorite TV program to spend time with our children; accompanying an aging, ailing aunt to the hospital for her cancer therapy; sitting down and listening to the problems of a desperate friend; getting up an hour earlier every morning to hear Mass; breaking a customary habit or behavior to gain a happier relationship with a spouse; or changing one’s schedule to be able to help the poor and the needy. These are all aspects of love that involve sacrifice.
Much of the suffering and crosses in our life may be beyond our comprehension.
Let us just recall Fulton J. Sheen’s reassuring words: “God could never let you suffer a pain or a reversal or experience sadness if it could not in some way minister to your perfection. If he did not spare his own Son on the Cross for the redemption of the world, then you may be sure that he will sometimes not spare your wants that you might be all you need to be: happy and perfect children of a loving Father. He may even permit us to wage wars as a result of our selfishness that we may learn there is no peace except in Goodness and Truth.”
Jesus has given himself to us as the model for suffering through his life, his cross, and his resurrection. To follow him is to be ready to surrender whatever gifts we may have received and to extend ourselves to others, especially the needy, in unconditional love and compassion.
Indeed, the cost of loving God is great. But like Job, let us place our complete trust in him, always remembering Jesus’ promise: “By standing firm, you will gain life.”