Sermons

Summary: He saw her as a person, a human being with infinite human dignity. Isn’t that the same look of love He has given us all during our life?

Monday of the 5th week in Lent

There are two common principles possible for human society. By birth into our fallen state, we are born into a kind of fraternity of failure. Our brotherhood is a society of sin. That is one thing we can say unequivocally about every one of us above the age of reason. We have all said “no” to God. We are all sinners. But the long-term effect of that oneness in sin is not unity. No, sin divides us, husband from wife, brother from sister, all of us from God. Sin is a kind of explosive device that destroys true human unity. To save us from that company of contrariness is the reason God became human. God became human so that humans, saved from their sin by the sinless One, could become divine. That means adopted children of God!

But although the sacrifice of Calvary was a real historical event, God dying for all of us, once for all time, that is not the ending of the divine plan. Each of us is caught up into the whole mystery of Christ. And as we learn in Christ to love the Father, so we learn to love all of the Father’s children. As Pope Benedict wrote, “in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. [God’s] friend is my friend. Going beyond exterior appearances, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave.”

In this Gospel there is far more than Jesus, the knight on a white horse, rescuing the fair maiden, as the young prophet Daniel vindicated Susannah. No, the woman in the Gospel, symbolic of the whole fickle people of Israel, and the whole adulterous human race, is a tramp. She was looking for love and mistaking it for adultery. Some selfish, unloving jerk took advantage of her, told her she was pretty, told her he’s always love her, that his wife “didn’t understand” him, and used her. Then she was caught in the act and the cad got away. But what she wanted, only Jesus Christ could give. Jesus gave her, full of sin, the authentic look of love that she really desired. He saw her as a person, a human being with infinite human dignity. Isn’t that the same look of love He has given us all during our life?

This is particularly true in the Sacrament of His presence. Jesus promised that He would be with us always, even to the end of time. Does that have only some mystical, spiritual meaning, or is Christ really present to us body and soul and divinity? Indeed. I’ve even heard Protestants giving each other the bread they share in their communion and saying. as we do, “the Body of Christ.” All human beings, whether they know it or not, hunger for the presence of Christ.

This we believe happens in every Mass. Christ is really made present, not just looking at us with love, but physically sharing with us the love and power flowing from the Resurrection, and preparing us for our own resurrection when He comes in glory.

Empowered by this Eucharist, we can give others, along with the necessities of life, the unselfish look of love they crave.

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