April 24, 2016 - 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We are obsessed with wanting to be liked, wanted, desired and accepted. Some people will do almost anything to be liked, wanted, desired and accepted.
This obsession can lead us down a dark path that can wreak havoc in our lives.
We pretend to be something other than ourselves hoping to be more likable, more desirable, more acceptable.
We do this because we desperately want a sense of belonging. But this pretending leads us into a world of self-doubt, self-loathing or even self-hatred.
When these feelings begin to set in, we lose our sense of self-worth. The result: we fail to love ourselves.
And failing to love ourselves, we fail to see that God loves us. We fail to see that in God’s eyes we are liked, wanted, desired and accepted.
Let’s take this a step further. If we can’t love ourselves the way God loves us, how can we expect to love anyone else? This leaves us lifeless, loveless, stuck in a pretty bad way.
We have to learn to love ourselves the way that God loves us.
And so we pray for Jesus to teach us to love ourselves the way God loves us.
We pray for Jesus to teach us to love with abandon, without counting the cost, without expecting something in return.
Until we learn to love ourselves as God wants us to, our ability to love others will be limited, maybe even distorted.
Until we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us, our friendships are stunted. Loving ourselves first, we are then able to give and receive affection from those who are close to us.
Until we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us, the relationship we have with the love of our life will be damaged. Loving ourselves first, we are then able to give our whole selves to that special one we love.
Until we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us, we will be unable to give unconditional love to the people who are closest to us. Loving ourselves first, we are then able to be selfless, sacrificial, and generous in the way we love others.
Jesus poured himself out for us on the cross, but that was just the final expression of what he had been doing every day during his public ministry. He was constantly pouring himself out for others.
The second reading tells us that Jesus loves with a love that wipes away tears, a love that comforts those who wail in pain, a love that takes away the sting of death.
Jesus is our model. Our desire to be liked, wanted, desired and accepted is a desire to be like him. Our yearning to be loved is a yearning for God.
As we seek to love as Jesus loved, we begin to realize that we are likable, desirable, acceptable, lovable. And if we don’t, then we are motivated to change our ways.
The Gospel challenges us to love ourselves and to love one another the way God loves us.