God’s love for his people

This Lenten Season it is well to relive the Good News and to remember how Jesus made the supreme sacrifice on the cross

IN HIS third sermon for Lent 2023 to Pope Francis and Roman Curia, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher of the Papal Household, speaks about the love of God for His people.

Cardinal Cantalamessa’s Lenten meditation was entirely and exclusively centered on God.

According to the Papal Preacher, the discourse on God, that is, theology, “cannot remain extraneous to the reality of the Synod, just as it can’t remain extraneous to any other moment of the life of the Church.”

This was in reference to the ongoing Synod on Synodality, formally opened by Pope Francis on October 10, 2021, a meeting of bishops for the entire Church to discern how the Spirit is moving through and with the Body of Christ – inside and outside the Church—so that the Church may continue to fulfill its mission to evangelize in the world.

Without theology, the Franciscan Cardinal continued, “faith would easily become dead repetition and would lack the main tool for its “inculturation.”

However, to fulfill this task, theology itself, he suggested, “needs a profound renewal.”

“What God’s people need is a theology imbued with life, which does not always speak of God ‘in the third person,’ with categories often borrowed from the philosophical system of the moment, incomprehensible outside the small circle of ‘insiders.’”

Instead, he urged, we must see God in a close, relatable way.

How can theology contribute to present the Gospel message in a significant way to today’s humanity and to give new life to our faith and our prayer?

In his sermon, Cantalamessa emphasized the most beautiful news that the Church has the task of proclaiming to the world, the one that every human heart expects to hear, is: “God loves you!”

This certainty, he underscored, must eradicate and take the place of the one we have always carried within us: “God is judging you!”

The truth that “God is love,” he insisted, must accompany, like a bass note, every Christian proclamation, even when the practical demands of this love must be recalled, as the Gospel does.

He then elaborated on mysteries of faith, and on the depth and meaning behind the Trinity, Incarnation, and Passion, and said we have to see what the truth that we have contemplated in these mysteries changes in our lives.

This transforming of our lives, through the mysteries, he argued, constitutes the “good news” that is “never missing when we try to deepen the treasures of the Christian faith.”

He added that “The good news, thanks to our incorporation into Christ, is that we too can love God with a love worthy of Him!”

“The good news, thanks to our incorporation into Christ, is that we too can love God with a love worthy of Him!”

During his sermon, Cantalamessa emphasized the Church’s responsibility to proclaim the most beautiful news to the world – that God loves us.

He stressed that this truth must replace the notion that God is judging us, and that the message of God’s love should accompany every Christian proclamation.

Cantalamessa delved into the mysteries of the Trinity, Incarnation, and Passion, emphasizing that contemplating these truths should transform our lives.

This transformation, he argued, is the good news that is revealed as we deepen our understanding of the Christian faith.

He highlighted that through our incorporation into Christ, we can love God with a love worthy of Him.

This love is an overflow of divine love from the Trinity to us, and the Holy Spirit is the very love that enables us to love God as the Son and the Father love each other.

Cantalamessa stressed that our love for God is not merely a bouncing back of His own love, but rather an expression of our freedom and filial gratitude.

He noted that this is exemplified in the Eucharist, where we offer to the Father what He has given us — His Son, Jesus.

In our prayer, we can say to the Father, “I love you with the love with which your Son Jesus loves you,” and to Jesus, “I love you with the love with which your heavenly Father loves you,” knowing that this is not a mere figment of our imagination, the Cardinal added.

This Lenten Season, it is wise to remember the extent of God’s love for humanity – love that is unchanging and unwavering.

It is a love that knows no boundaries or limitations, and it is a love that has been demonstrated to us through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

God’s love for us is not based on our worthiness or our actions, but rather it is a free and gracious gift that is offered to us regardless of our shortcomings.

May we always remember that we are loved by the Creator of the universe, and may that love empower us to love and serve others as we are called to do.

This Lenten Season it is well to relive the Good News and to remember how Jesus made the supreme sacrifice on the cross; an act of love beyond measure, an act that demonstrated His desire to redeem and reconcile us to God the Father.

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