True Christian love will always look like madness

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to prepare ourselves for this kind of love which is what is actually meant for us, since we are God’s image and likeness, sharers of his divine life and nature. How God loves should also be how we should love him and others in return.

The gospel reading of the Mass on Tuesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time features Christ (cfr. Mt 5,43-48) telling his disciples, and now us, that “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”

He made it clear that we can only become true children of God if we manage to follow this incredible commandment of his. He himself embodied that kind of love by offering his very own life as a way to bear all our sins and conquer them with his resurrection.

To be sure, we can only manage to have this kind of love if we truly unite ourselves with Christ who makes it possible and doable for us since he himself will do it for us—but also with us. We cannot deny that this kind of love will demand a lot of sacrifice. Thus, Christ himself said that if we want to follow him, we need to deny ourselves and to carry the cross. (cfr. Mt 16,24)

Since as humans we develop ourselves in stages, we should try to take advantage of our daily contradictions, both small and big, to develop this kind of love. We cannot deny that everyday we have to contend with some differences and conflicts with others for one reason and another. We should consider these occasions as an invitation and an opportunity to grow in the love God wants us to have.

We have to understand that true Christian love always gives itself without measure. That’s its essence. It leaves measure and calculation behind. It just gives and gives non-stop, not only 24/7 but from all eternity and through all eternity as well.

Consider the following. God created the universe without any necessity on his part. He just did it out of pure goodness, wishing to share what he has with other beings. This is the very essence of gratuitousness, the core of love.

Then he created us in his image and likeness, and therefore ran the risk of being freely rejected by us, his creatures, which was what took place and continues to take place up to now.

But in spite of that, God continues to love us, willing to undertake a very complicated plan of salvation, sending his own Son to us, since it is only God, not us even in our best efforts, who can save us.

For this, the Son had to become man, assuming not only human nature, but also the consequences of man’s sin and woundedness without ever committing any trace of sin. Then he died to our sin, his death delivering death to our sins. With his resurrection, we are given a way to conquer our own sins as long as we also die with him.