Who He is – Who we should try to be.

As we enter back into Ordinary Time, the school of discipleship, Holy Mother Church gives us a few more intensive lessons about our God.  During the first six months of this liturgical we have delved deeply into the act of God coming among us and giving Himself up for us and restoring our lives and how He will be intimately with us through His Spirit. Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates something other than how God has revealed Himself or what God has done for us. Cardinal Ratzinger spoke in 2004: ‘Today we are not celebrating an event in which “something” of God is made visible; rather, we are celebrating the very mystery of God. We rejoice in God, in the fact that he is the way he is; we thank him for existing; we are grateful that he is what he is and that we can know him and love him and that he knows and loves us and reveals himself to us.[1]

Today, we celebrate that God is absolute Love.  We celebrate that this love is made manifest to us in the Holy Trinity – 3 persons 1 God.  Why is God as He is? Well, ultimately this is a mystery and only He can help us with the answer. What we do understand is that this love that God is; is a perfect love of self-giving.  This love that is God is active, creative and to be that there needs to be a giver and the object of the giving.  The Father loves the Son totally with all He has – the Son loves the Father totally with all He has and this perfect love is the Holy Spirit.  This love requires an emptying of oneself for the sake of another; it requires effort – communion – interaction.

Brothers and sisters, this gift of God – of partial understanding of Himself is also our goal.  We are made in His image; therefore to be complete in ourselves we need to participate in who He is – we need to reach for this total self-giving love – this Agape. It is no wonder that when He was asked what the most important commandment is Christ replied, albeit cryptically, with a description of who God is. “… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.[2]

St. John tells us in his first letter ‘God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.[3] Our understanding of who God is should be what drives our lives. We should celebrate that we can know Him, that He knows us.  We should take strength in that He loves us as He loves Himself.  We should do the same.  Let’s come to know Him even better by loving Him and our neighbor better.

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[1] A homily given in the Cathedral of Bayeux on the Feast of the Holy Trinity, June 6, 2004.
[2] Mk 12:30-31 (RSV)
[3] 1 JN 4:16 (RSV)

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