What is the true nature of love? O’Henry wrote a short story, called The Gift of the Magi, about two young lovers who scrapped by with the little they possessed. One Christmas eve the husband sold a gold pocket watch inherited from his father so he could buy his wife a golden comb. She had long beautiful hair. The wife that same day had her hair cut and sold so she could buy a gold chain for her husband’s watch. What wonder and surprise crossed their faces when they exchanged their gifts!
True love costs dearly! God is the perfect lover because he treats us as his beloved and he gives us the most perfect gift of all. “To ransom a slave God gave his Son” (ancient prayer from the Easter vigil liturgy). God sent his Son into the world to free us from slavery to sin and the power of death. Jesus willing layed down his life for our sake and salvation. His death on the cross of Calvary was both an offering to God and the atoning sacrifice for our sin and the sin of the world. Perfect love holds nothing back but gives all. Jesus gave himself completely out of love for his Father and for us sinners.
John 3: 16-18
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John tells us that God’s love knows no bounds (John 3:16). His love is not limited to a few or to a single nation. His love both embraces the whole world and is personally directed to every person created in “his image and likeness”. God is a loving Father who cannot rest until his wandering children have returned home to him. Saint Augustine says, God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love. God gives us the freedom to choose whom and what we will love. Jesus shows us the paradox of love and judgment. We can love the darkness of sin and unbelief or we can love the light of God’s truth, beauty, and goodness. If our love is guided by what is true, and good and beautiful then we will choose for God and love him above all else. What we love shows what we prefer. Do you love God above all else? Does he take first place in your life, in your thoughts, and actions?
Jesus revealed to his disciples the great mystery of our faith – the triune nature of God and the inseparable union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus’ mission is to reveal the glory of God to us – a Trinity of persons – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and to unite us with God in a community of love. The ultimate end, the purpose for which God created us, is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity. The Jews understood God as Creator and Father of all that he made (Deuteronomy 32:6) and they understood the nation of Israel as God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). Jesus reveals the Father in an unheard of sense. He is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son, who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father (see Matthew 11:27). The Spirit, likewise, is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. The mission of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit are the same. That is why Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will reveal the glory of the Father and the Son and will speak what is true. Before his Passover, Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit as the “Paraclete” and Helper who will be with Jesus’ disciples to teach and guide them “into all the truth” (John 14:17,26; 16:13). In baptism we are called to share in the life of the Holy Trinity here on earth in faith and after death in eternal light.