7th Sunday of Easter B
I have lived in this town for eleven years which means I have been inundated with engineers and those who analyze things for a living. It changes a guy. And I am a better person for it. I have come to appreciate precision in all things. I am far more rational and evidence based than before. And I have come to appreciate that the greatest enemy in the world is inefficiency. You know what I mean. So many of you are either there or married to someone who is.
Yet the great irony of all this is that we are gathered here by the least efficient agent possible. Love. Love is out-sized, sloppy and impossible to control. It distorts proportion and perspective. There is no such thing as a small achievement for a loved one or a small wound to a loved one. When you care more about the welfare of another more than your own, you cede control of your own happiness. No one can make you laugh more than the ones you love and no one can drive you crazier. You are even willing to lay down your life for your friend and how inefficient is that.
Think about how we love each other and the unreasonable demands love makes. There can be no better example on this Mother’s Day than the love of a Mom. It is exhaustive and I imagine exhausting. When I think of my Mom I now miss how much she worried about me. That every night her first concern was for my brother and me. No matter what I was doing, if she did not know I was safe, her presumption was that I was in a ditch by the side of the road. That kind of caring matters. And you might think she is smiling down upon me now but in truth I think she is really thinking, “Now he likes my worrying.”
To love is to choose vulnerability and to surrender power. It is “to live with your heart outside of your body.”
Why then do we love? We do it because that is what we are meant for. We do it because God is love. We do it because we were built for it and sometimes it seems that every cell in our body is pining for it, seeking connection to another. God so intricately created this world and the crowning achievement is that we love; just as God does; we love in the image of God. My favorite argument for the existence of God is that we love, for surely we would not have imagined or chosen it on our own,
When God created us, God made us for the mission of love. This love is shot through the very nature of God and is defined eloquently in our second reading. “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” It is not that God abandons us when we do not love, but that we remove the divine in ourselves when we do not do what we were designed to do. Jesus’ words in the Gospel are a full on cavalcade of love: I guard them, protect them and consecrate myself to them. And finally there is the promise of the Holy Spirit. For within us is the same Spirt that made Jesus love those he encountered. How could we not be meant for love when the Spirit of Jesus Christ resides in us?
It seems to me that much of life is lived on this knife’s edge. Shall we seek safety, protection and rationality or should we choose the vulnerability, the fear and ultimately the joy and peace of love? Should our goal be mere survival and forego the surge of romantic love, the deep satisfaction of friendship and the joy of knowing you belong to a family or a community grounded in love? All the happiest and best people I know have chosen love for it is both our journey and our destination. It is all that we will know at the end. It is what we are intended for and no other meaning defines us. We love because God is love.