One of my greatest joys in life is being a grandfather. It is kind of like having a “do over” with little ones. My oldest grandson is now 17, and when he was around five years old he asked me a very special question. He said “Papa, how much do you love me”? I thought for a moment and then held my arms out as wide as I could and said “I love you this much and more”. I then added, “I love you a million times a million”. He smiled and gave me a huge hug. The reason I write this is because this week’s readings are all about love.
The great prophet Isaiah tells us that God loved us so much that He even bore our guilt upon His shoulders. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest in the Heavens who has been through what we have been through. I can remember times when I would say to God, “you don’t know what I am going through…” However, as I drew closer to God I realized that He did know what I went through and He paid the price with His own blood and even His own life for me and for you. Think about that for a minute. God became one of us. He knew what it meant to suffer and be laughed at or spit upon, punched and mocked, even put to death, and yet He was without sin and endured all of this because He loved us.
In the Gospel St. Mark recounts the fact that James and John, two brothers and the sons of Zebedee, desire to be great in Christ’s kingdom. Our Lord tells them basically “be careful what you wish for…” This is because He would endure the great passion and death for our sins. In the end He does tell them that they too will drink from this cup. It is not easy to lay down one’s life for another, yet that is exactly what our Lord Jesus did
for us. So, this week take some time and look at a crucifix. I mean really look at it. As you gaze upon the bruised and beaten body of our Lord crucified, notice that His arms are stretched out wide, and the next time you are wondering if God really loves you, go back to the crucifix, for it is there that He is telling you “I love you this much…”, the ultimate sign of love even more than a million times a million. As you reflect on this, don’t be afraid to let Him give your spirit a big ole hug as well, you’re never too old for one of those. Something to think about…May God richly bless you always…