Remain in Love

Homily, Wednesday after Epiphany

When I was in college seminary, my class received a rather strange assignment for our course on the Catechism. The assignment was this: fall in love and take good notes. Now it ended up that the assignment wasn’t graded, but our professor wanted us to notice a few things about being in love. When someone’s in love, he becomes fascinated by even the smallest details about the beloved, the way she says certain words, the subtle changes in her voice and in her eyes when she gets excited, upset, or depressed, even her strangest quirks can start to be seen as contributing to her overall beauty. Her weaknesses and limitations become objects of special affection and compassion. As men preparing for the priesthood, we were to approach the Church and her teachings and her weaknesses in the same way.

Beyond this, the whole history of salvation can and should be seen as a love story between God and His people. God is endlessly and madly in love with us. During this Christmas season we especially remember how the Son of God went so far as to be born a human child, to share with us in even the smallest details of our lives. God has such compassion for us in our weakness and sin that Christ shared in our every suffering and pain, and by His perfect obedience, He overcame every temptation and sin that afflicts us.

God never goes back on His word, and He always remains madly in love with us, but for us, they say that it’s easier to fall in love than to stay in love. In the first reading today, we hear, “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” How do we “remain in love”? How do we keep our hearts sensitive to all that God does for us instead of allowing our hearts to become hardened? It takes constant effort and constant surrender. To remember with faith, and to allow ourselves to be moved by all that God has done for us, to be attentive with love to the ways that God wants to speak to us and to feed us today through the Scriptures, through the words and expressions of those around us, through the events of our lives, and through His gift of Himself in this Eucharist. And it takes constant effort to desire with hope that Christ will bring us all one day to our true home in heaven. Remain in love. Even in the storms of life, let Christ’s perfect love drive out all fear as we hear Him say time and again, “Take courage, I AM here. Do not be afraid.”