On the Sunday before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Gross we are reminded of the purpose of the Lord’s coming into the world. The words of the Gospel about it are particularly important to us, because we are called to face the world in exactly the same way as the Lord did. And this is what the Gospel says to us: “God loved the world so much, that He gave His only Son that the world might be saved.”
Too often we have a negative attitude towards the world, we oppose it to the Church; too often we think that God came into the world to save those who will receive and love Him, those who will follow Him. But God loved the whole world, He loved it impartially. When, at the beginning, He created something, when He uttered His sovereign word ordering an object to exist, He created in with love, with care, as a sculptor, who with intelligent and tender hands fashions for posterity an object to be an image of beauty, an impression of meaning, a lasting memory of Himself.
When God called us, spirit-bearing creatures, into being, He called us not for a given time but into eternity; not so that having spent a short-lived existence, we should fade away, disappear and be forgotten. He created us to be with Him for ever and ever, to be His friends in that divine eternity which has no end or limit. And now, in spite of our having fallen, and being unfaithful and treacherous, He continues to love us. We betray Him, because we claim to be the Church of Christ, yet in our habits, our interests, in our very seal for life we belong to a world adverse to Christ. Who among us can say, who will dare say, that his heart is wholly turned to the Kingdom of Heaven? That the treasure of his life is God and His truth? And if we cannot say this, then we are traitors. And again: can we say that we treat God’s created world in the same way that God treats it? That our feelings are His feelings, that our attitudes are His attitudes? Surely, this is hardly the case.
And yet, God loves us greatly, and His is a sacrificial love, for He gave His, only begotten Son for our salvation. Let us remember how little, in fact, we represent this divine Kingdom, which He came to build on earth. Let us also, like Him, love the world which surrounds us, not with that passionate love which makes us part of this world, but with the living love of Christ. In this world He spoke about love, truth, purity justice; He brought the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven, and brought it at the price of His life and His death. This is how God loves the world – in such a way that He is prepared to live among us and die for us. We must meditate on the destiny of the world that surround us, and day after day give our lives for this world, so that it becomes the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.
Published: Cathedral Newsletter, 42, September 1973