“God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Let me pick up where I left off last week: as I finished distributing Holy Communion last Sunday and sat down in my chair to meditate, for some reason I kept my eyes open and starting looking out at all of you my beloved people. I saw all of you praying so intently, so fervently. Most of you kneeling with your eyes tightly shut. I asked the Lord to listen to and grant your prayers. I delighted in seeing all of you praying so hard, fully understanding the mystery that we had just celebrated, and knowing that you were in the presence of your Lord and King. This image stuck with me all week as I went off on retreat for five days. I went to be alone with God, to better my relationship with him, to recharge the spiritual batteries, as I like to say, but every time I closed my eyes in prayer I kept seeing all of you. I can take a hint from God especially when he hits me over the head in prayer: he wanted me to spend time praying for each of you.
One of the themes that our retreat master kept bringing up is how much our God delights in each of us despite our weakness. We may see flaws when we look in the mirror, but God sees one of his beloved children. As I prayed for all of you, I also delighted in the gift that all of you have become in my life. Our retreat master said during a talk: “No one will show [a priest] Jesus Christ better than the people he serves.” And it is true. You show me Christ every day, and I delight and rejoice in the gift of all of you just as God delights in you.
As we continued this theme of God delighting and rejoicing in us, I proceeded to spend an entire day meditating on three words that seem so simple but are so profound and so difficult for us to comprehend at times: “God loves you!” Think about those words. Meditate on those words. The moment we finally grasp and wrap our minds and hearts on what those words truly mean then our lives completely change. How much does God love you? Just look at the cross and listen to the gospel: “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” God. Loves. You. He delights in you. He rejoices over you. So look past your weaknesses because God does. Look past your flaws, your warts, your imperfections and realize that you are loved by a God who loved you so much that he sent his Son to die for you so that you can spend an eternity with him.