God’s Love Knows No Bounds, But Man’s Response is Imperative

We have all heard today at Mass St. Paul’s beautiful discourse on love. It is so often read at wedding Masses, and one is tempted to think of Paul’s focus being solely on human love. He says that in the end there remain only faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. I think what he is pointing out to us is not only the supremacy of love in human life – for it is that which draws us intimately in union with God – but Paul is also speaking of God’s love for us. God’s love for us never ends. He never stops loving us. His love is unrestricted and unconditional. It is definitive of his relationship with us, his people.

There is a tendency in today’s world to misunderstand this, for many now-a-days think, “If God loves me unconditionally, then it really doesn’t make much difference how I live my life, for he will always love me and love me in the end.” This misunderstanding of the nature of God’s love negates what is of vital importance for us to realize.  God always offers us his love, for it is his love alone which sustains us each and every moment. (Remember your mom teaching you that if God were to forget about you for even a split second, you would suddenly die? This is what your mom was talking about.) He does not rescind his offer of love. He, though, never forces us to accept it, and accepting it requires we open ourselves to his love by living as he has taught us to live. The more we sin, i.e., refuse to live as he has taught, live as if he were unimportant in our lives, live as if God were someone who was forcing us, pushing us, confronting us and limiting us with his presence, then the more we say “No!” to the love God never ceases to pour out on us and for us.

Our response, our living a moral and virtuous life, our conformation to the demands of divine love, is a necessary part of the equation, so to speak.

Think of it. If our “yes” to God’s love, a yes made by living a life of virtue and obedience were not important, then we would be mere animals with no rational soul. Rather, we have freedom to choose. We have the power to love or not. We are of such importance in God’s  eyes that he has created us with the power to consciously, willfully respond, as a unique human person, to his equally unique love for each of us. We are not manipulated by God into anything. We are free.

Yes, God loves us unconditionally. He respects our freedom to love him in return or to reject the love he will always extend to us.

If we love him, we will be like him and with him for all eternity. If we do not love him, we will have chosen to separate ourselves eternally.

The choice is ours.

Remember, St. John said, “If you love me, you will do what I have commanded you.”


About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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