Father Ed's Reflections

Everlasting Love

22 Nov 2016

EVERLASTING LOVE

Human life is often a mystery; so too, are the experiences we encounter now and again. Surely love is one experience that has a profound effect upon us all, and can bring about a radical change in our lives.

As Christians we may, on occasion, become aware of divine love. It may be due to some words like these from the great prophet, Jeremiah:  I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you, having compassion on you.  The believer may well pause before these words and in some manner realize that the One who addresses us is the Lord. ‘I HAVE LOVED YOU’ has been spoken to Israel and now is spoken to us, and to grasp these words is to be filled with wonder, a breathlessness, …it is too intimate, too touching to be told, and so real to the one who takes these word to heart.

To hear such words from a person is an extraordinary experience. How much more so when the Divine says, ‘I have loved you’. But the words continue:  ‘with an everlasting love.’ We cannot comprehend the word everlasting, let alone the word love. These words are spoken to us and need to be reflected upon as they speak of the mystery of the love of God for every human being whether or not he or she is conscious of it.

Who can explain love? Who can grasp everlasting? Our limited understanding cannot fully grasp love, let alone an infinity…why, we cannot even understand the immensity of the ever-present cosmos seen in part on a starry night. Surely before such love we can only pause and wonder and praise the Lord.

THEREFORE I HAVE DRAWN YOU…yes, a choice and it is addressed to you and me…will you allow yourself to be found, to be enveloped in love? The choice is ours and the offer is everlasting; it is never too late to respond to this love. Nor does the Lord consider our status; compassion is the hand of the Lord taking no notice of who and what we are, but simply having compassion on us as we are and not as we think we should be.

It reminds us of Jesus, who came to call sinners, seeking the lost sheep- and who was constantly sought by the riff-raff of the land who wanted to hear what he had to say. Jesus touched their hearts; the Word Incarnate is the One who came amongst us to tell of this everlasting love.  A love that knew no bounds, even to death on a cross. Such is the everlasting love of God made visible in our midst and understood in faith.

To encounter Jesus is to encounter the Godhead who said in ageless words, I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you, having compassion on you. We can hear these words; a call not only to happiness but to what we may call beatitude. Yet we cannot really grasp the incomparable love offered to us all. So we pause before the mystery, breathless and filled with wonder.

May I leave you with these words again:

I HAVE LOVED YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE, THEREFORE I HAVE DRAWN YOU, HAVING COMPASSION ON YOU

The time of Advent recalls the longing of Israel for the coming of the Messiah. This longing came to fulfilment in the Nativity of the Lord. Everlasting Love has come into the world in the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Fr Edward Wood SSS, November 2016

 

PROLOGUE OF gOSPEL OF ST. JOHN

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said,
'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received grace  upon grace.

Father Edward Wood, SSS
Blessed Sacrament Congregation,  St. Francis’ Church

326 Lonsdale St., Melbourne, 3000, Australia.

Tel: (03) 9663 2495  Email: ewood@blessedsacrament.com.au