Loves Lives: Week 6
Happy Mother’s Day!
Mothers’ Day is all about an expression of love for our Mothers. In recent weeks, the Sunday gospels have focused intensely on love, and so has our message series. We’ve come to understand that to love someone is to help that person thrive without counting the cost to ourselves. That is what our Mother’s do, and that is what Jesus did.
We’ve got a fun way to remember this mothers’ day here at Saint Mary… We have a SELFIE STATION setup in the entryway, so after Mass, stop by, grab a selfie with your mom.
Since I have been here I have began preparing couples for marriage. I really enjoy getting to know the couples and hopefully to help set them up for a fruitful and successful marriage.
One thing that I always try to ask the couples is, “What would it mean for you to love him or her generously in your marriage?” It’s meant to make them think about and ask the question: “What is real love? Generous love?”
What WOULD it look like for us to love our kids generously? To love our friends generously? To love our parents or spouse or fiancée generously? Before people are married, the answer can be lofty and elusive and indefinable.
I think when you get specific, when you drill down about a definition of love this one aspect of love slowly rises to the surface… And think if you were to list times you have truly felt loved by people around you, this thread would be weaved through all the examples we could think of sacrificial love, love that sacrifices itself for another.
We again, turn this week to the letter of first John that we read today. We hear, Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God. Love is of God. When we look at who God is we are reminded that God is not angry or vengeful or spiteful or impatient or unkind or…and the list goes on.
He is not a god of Greek mythology who would take out his vengeance and wrath on people. Our image of God is really important. If we don’t know who God is or what love is, how can we ever expect to love someone the way God loves them?
And John is telling us, when you think of God, don’t think of Santa Claus, don’t think of a teacher, a judge, a disciplinarian. When you think of God, you should think of LOVE in all its fullness. Love is his nature, love is who God is, so if you know love, you know God. You cannot separate love and God.
It is in this way the love of God is revealed to us. God’s love is revealed to us in his actions. Something else I also do with marriage prep is I ask the couple to take the 5 love languages survey. It’s a good thing for couples, for parents and their children, or really anyone who wants to love someone better.
The survey asks questions to help you understand how you receive love, and they are broken into 5 generic categories:
-words of affirmation
-spending quality time
-acts of service
We enjoy being loved in all 5 ways but there is usually one or two that really gets to our heart. John spells out God’s love language for us when he writes… “God sent his only Son into the world…”. Really? Does that even make sense.
We hear in John 3:16… for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son… Think about it. The God of all creation, who has the power and wisdom and majesty and might to create everything, is big and powerful and perfect, who is worthy of adoration and worship and infinite glory… chose to leave heaven’s perfection, to make himself so small, to enter into our universe to be born on earth as a baby in a manger.
He denied himself his rights and privileges, his authority and power and control… to become man, to get headaches and stub his toe, to feel pain and suffer. Why did he sacrifice all of that? Why did he demonstrate such sacrificial love for us?
John tells us, “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.”
Now THAT is love! That is sacrificial love!
It’s not as if we loved God first and he reciprocated that love. God loved us first, like we said a couple weeks ago, even with our faults, failures, imperfections, insecurities, and all the rest. With all of that, he sacrificed His own life for our sins.
When you get this perspective it’s not that we have loved God but that he loved us, then you begin to understand!
God’s love language is sacrificial love! Sacrificial love is when you deny yourself of what you want or deserve for someone else’s good. With that in mind John puts forth the idea that since God loves us, we must love one another.
But how? By going back to the first word that John used, beloved… some of us just need to: “Be-loved”.
You cannot give what you don’t have. If we are to love the way we should, we need to understand just how much God loves us. Think about the sacrifice Jesus made to become one of us, to die for us, and to share God’s love with us. Saint Paul prays this in one of his letters –
“…that you might grasp how high, and wide, and deep and long is the love of Christ – and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God…”
Some of us just need to be filled up, to realize how much God loves us so that we can “Be love,” to those around us. We can learn to love sacrificially by putting the needs of the other person before ours, because we believe that God did the same for us.
The Gospel today gives us the exact same message of self-sacrificial love, when John writes: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” So, my brothers and sisters, be loved so that you may be love.