Do You Love Jesus by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2012/02/04 at 9:11 AM

 • Do you love Christ? Is Jesus your friend? Is our Lord the highest priority in your life? Are you willing to forsake everything for the sake of your relationship with Him?

• Are you willing to give up your possessions, your money, your reputation, your friends and family, your very life for the sake of Christ and His Church?

• This is a subject St. Paul takes up in our second reading today. Think about his words for a moment: “I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things…that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.”

• St. Paul makes the very basic point that Christ Himself is our prize! And while he hasn’t yet attained the eternal possession of Christ in heaven, he continues his pursuit of this in the hope that he may one day possess Jesus eternally.

• And as Christians we must do the same! Why? Because Christ first loved us.

• Moreover, Jesus is the only path to heaven. If we hope one day to enjoy the eternal bliss of heaven, we must know Christ, love Christ, and serve Christ.

• We are now getting close to Holy Week and the end of Lent. Lent is the particular time of the year that Holy Mother Church calls us to renew our relationship with Christ and to be reconciled to Him.

• For Lent is not simply our time to prepare for Easter; it’s also our preparation for eternity.

• Perhaps sometimes we approach the thought of conversion and reconciliation with God with some amount of dread and fear, for being converted and reconciled to God requires that we face up to our sins, because it is our sins that destroy our relationship with the Lord.

• Perhaps we fear facing up to our sins because we fear God’s wrath and judgment. Maybe we fear that God is waiting to punish us.

• Yet, in truth, God has created us to live in relationship with Him, to be in friendship with Him. And God has really gone out of His way to make this friendship with Him possible.

• Ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden, there has been a barrier between God and man. But God has overcome our sinfulness.

• We see God’s work of overcoming man’s sinfulness writ large in the stories of the Old Testament that speak of our salvation history.

• The stories of Abraham, Noah and the flood, Moses and the Israelites being delivered from Egypt through the waters of the Red Sea and their 40 years in the desert all show the great lengths to which God is willing to go to save mankind and reconcile us to Himself.

• The prophet Isaiah alludes to these mighty works in our first reading when he reminds us of how the Lord opened the way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, and of how He has put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland.

• These waters of grace through which the Israelites passed in the Red Sea and of which they drank in the desert are still given to us today through the Sacrament of Baptism.

• Just as the Israelites were freed from the slavery of Egypt by passing through the waters of the Red Sea, so too are we freed from the slavery of sin as we pass through the waters of baptism.

• Today’s first reading is a prophecy by Isaiah that foretells how the Israelites will be restored to their land and the miraculous natural events that will occur along with their restoration.

• But this passage was not meant to be understood just in literal terms. It was also meant to be understood spiritually, and spiritual writers see in this reading an analogy for how God desires to work in our souls. In short, He is a God who restores us.

• Even though our souls may be a desert wasteland because of our sins, the Lord can make a river of grace gush forth within us. Just as God restored the Israelites to Judea, He can restore our souls to their natural beauty. And this He does through the sacraments.

• If we open up our souls to God with heartfelt contrition and sorrow for our sins, He will flood us with His healing and His peace.

• This is all possible because of God’s mercy! Last week I mentioned the point made by St. Thomas Aquinas that God’s all-powerful nature is most perfectly expressed in His mercy.

• We see a great example of this in today’s Gospel. Like last week’s story of the Prodigal Son, today’s Gospel really shows us what God is like. This week’s story gives us some real insight into how our Lord deals with sinners.

• Think for a moment how Christ treats this sinful woman. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees who want to stone her, Christ doesn’t condemn her. Instead, He forgives her and tells her to go and sin no more. Jesus doesn’t excuse her sin; He simply encourages her to stop doing it.

• My friends, this is the God we worship. He is a God who doesn’t condemn us, but who is always ready to forgive us when we’re truly sorry and ask for forgiveness. And that should give us all great confidence as we approach the confessional.

• Our Lord is not harsh and judgmental, but gentle and loving. He seeks to heal us, to forgive us, and to be one with us. And He encourages to live good and holy lives, putting our sinfulness behind us.

• Note, however, Jesus’ last words to the woman: “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” He tells her quite clearly to desist from her sins. While He is compassionate to her, He does not turn away from correcting her.

• Brothers and sisters: our Lord is constantly looking for opportunities to reconcile with us. He desires above all else to give us His mercy. Our Lord loves us with a depth and an intensity that we cannot fathom.

• The truth of His love is a reality that we are reminded of every time we look at a crucifix.

• Considering this unfathomable love of our Lord, can we not make Him our highest priority in


• Therefore, my brothers and sisters, let us be willing to forsake all else for the love of Christ, which is beyond all understanding. Let us place all of our hope in the mercy of our Lord, by which we will be saved.

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC


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