And Jesus calls us to abide in this love, to dwell in it, to live from it! During this Easter season we are invited to reflect on this amazing deep and passionate love that God has for each one of us; to reflect on the reality that we are loved even in the midst of our brokenness and sinfulness.
Jesus was willing to lay down his life to show us that boundless love of which he spoke to his disciples. This deep and passionate love that God has for us is for all people and even St Peter comes to realize this -- we hear him recognize that God shows no partiality. And we are called to love one another as Christ loves us. We are empowered to do this in and through the grace of the Eucharist which not only empowers us but emboldens us to reach out to embrace “the other”, especially those most in need, those most despised and dejected, and those marginalized by ourselves and by the broader society.
Just as St Peter came to recognize that God’s love stretched beyond the people of Israel so too we are called to see God’s amazing and transformative love for all peoples and allow it to change our hearts and minds that we might draw near to all those who suffer and are in need -- those to whom racial justice is denied and to those whom others dehumanize and distance themselves from. This love holds the power to shape and impact our world view and how we see other people, other cultures and other countries. It helps us understand how we are called as disciples to interact with others, to reach out to them in love. Reaching out and embracing “the other”, the one who is different, can be difficult but it is precisely what we are called to do as Jesus’ disciples.
So this radical love shapes questions like: In the midst of this pandemic “should we” share the vaccine with other countries? It shapes it to become rather, “how can we do it,” and “how quickly can we do it”. We no longer see the residents of other countries as “others” but as sisters and brothers in need. And this radical love from God transforms us and reshapes how we live with one another and how we live in the world around us.
So the question it raises for me is: What can I do to better accept God’s love for me in my life that I might share it with others? And I ask myself, to whom is God’s love calling me to love and accept, in my family, in my school, in my community, in my country, in the world?