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When the bosses love you, they don’t just say it. Something happens. What happens when your boss loves you? That’s an easy answer. You receive a bonus, a pay raise, or extended vacation time. What happens when God loves? Things pop into existence. If I say the word ‘water’, nothing happens. But if God came here at this moment and said the word ‘water’: I would be bailing out the basement. St. Clement church would be floating down Boylston Street. If you want proof that God loves you, just take a deep breath. Take a deep breath. Fill up those lungs with air and that is all you need.
The question I have is what happens when Christ loves us? That is the question Paul answers in his Letter to the Romans. Halfway through that letter, Paul makes a profound statement about Christ’s love. It takes Paul eight entire chapters to build up to his climactic statement about Christ’s love in chapter 8. Before he answers my question, Paul talks about Adam who is in the garden of Eden. Imagine you go over to a nearby bush and pluck of a handful of blueberries, or reach your hand up for a fresh banana. You look up at the cobalt blue sky and see all the beautiful birds, or look down and admire the valuable emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds sparkling in the sunlight. So there we are in paradise. And guess what happens? We get kicked out. Banished. So God comes up with a plan through Abraham to get us back in His presence, that is, to get us back in His garden. But as soon as we return to God, we turn on God, and we walk away. So how do we stay in the garden once we are in the garden? That is why God sent Christ. That is what happens when Christ loves us. Paul says that nothing will separate us from God.
When I was growing up my father was not a hugger; he didn’t blow loving kisses at me and he didn’t sweetly whisper “I love you” in my ear. To show his affection he shook my hand. When I mowed the lawn really well, I got a handshake. When I got all A’s and B’s on my report card, I got a handshake. When I graduated from Princeton with a master’s, I got a handshake. When I caught the biggest trout in my life, (Dad was in the boat with me; he asked me what is it, an alligator?!), I got a handshake. If I were to become Pope of the Catholic Church, I will get a handshake.
On day when I was young, I asked him, “Dad, why is your hand so hard.” He explained I have calluses on my hands. I got them from carrying heavy lumber; I get splinters from the plywood, I get frostbite from the cold nails in the winter when I frame houses. My hands are hard because of the calluses And I said, “Ohhhhh.”
I will tell you this. If I ever had a doubt that my father didn’t care or if I ever doubted for a second that he wasn’t completely dedicated to the family, I would just go up to him and shake his hand. All the doubts would go away.
When people love, they do not just say it. Something happens. When God loves us something happens. So, what happens when you love?Back to All Homilies