Monday, April 30, 2007

The joy of being a priest!

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2007
World Day for Vocations
Mass Readings:
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
John 10:27-30

Today we not only continue our celebration of Easter but we also take time to talk about vocations in the Church. Today we call attention to vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.

To be a servant of God is to be happy! Nothing can bring more peace and satisfaction than to be about God's work. All of us are called to be Jesus' disciples. All of us are a part of Jesus' Great Commission to go forth and proclaim the good news of Salvation. All of us are called.

Some are called to take a different path. For some, service to God means dedicating one's life to full time service, to be married to the Church. Priesthood and religious life are a lifetime marriage to God and his Church. The diaconate is also crucial for it is an office in which married men can serve in an ordained role. Deacons are very, very important to the life of the Church and as a priest I can attest to the great service they give and their help to me.

We often hear the doom and gloom folk who lament the lack of vocations in the Church. Most of these folk will cite reasons why there is a lack of vocations and their reasons almost always reflect their personal agenda. If the Church only did things the way he/she wants them to be done then everything would be right and perfect. Uh, yeah. Right. Sorry. Don't think so.

Vocations in the Church face a number of obstacles. Most parents want their kids to make money, have a family, a big house. I remember my mom going through a whole list of things that she thought I would be giving up in order to be a priest. I remember her great fear that I would be lonely. Let me say that yes, there are days when I am a bit lonely. BUT! After seven years as a priest I have to say that some of the loneliest people I have met have been folk who are married and have families. You can be in a house full of people and still be lonely.

My mom worried that I would be unhappy. Is everyday just a day of sunshine and joy? No. But then again, no one has everyday be perfect. Happiness is a choice. No one or no thing can be the source of one's happiness. Happiness comes from being at peace with who we are and what we do. So yes, I am very happy with my life. I am happy being a priest and I look forward to the years to come.

When did a life of service cease to be a viable option? I have heard on more than one occasion how some families become angry when their children turn to service in the Church instead of what many deem to be a life of prestige and money. Last time I checked, money was a rather fluid resource and can be lost quickly. I even had a young woman ask me for prayer as she was getting ready to enter religious life and her parents were furious because they wanted her to be a doctor. Imagine being angry at your child for wanting to serve God by serving other people as a nun. I was truly upset by this young woman's situation. I pray that she is happy and that her family has come to respect and support her decision. We need more people who are willing to follow God's call instead of society's call.

To serve God is to be happy. To serve God's people is to have joy. I can think of nothing else that could give me the great joy I have. Being a priest means everything to me and I invite any and all who may want to discern if he/she has a vocation to feel free to contact me.

God's Peace to you all!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Third Sunday of Easter 2007
Mass Readings:
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

The homily I had prepared for this weekend has taken a back seat in light of the tragedy this week at VA Tech. We have been bombarded with images and sounds from the media and it has been numbing to say the least. It has been asked of us priests here to announce where there will be ecumenical prayer vigils for the victims. I am glad to do that. However, I must add that it has caused me to think hard about a few things.

Here are some of the things I have been pondering. Why does it take a tragedy to stir us out of our complacency? Why are we not outraged every single day at the tens of thousands of people who are victims of violence in the world? Why do we immediately start playing the blame game after there is a tragedy? Why do politicians always use tragedies as a way to stump for votes? Why does it take a tragedy to get us to pray?! Why don't we pray daily for peace and an end to violence against all life? Why don't we respect ALL life?!

I must admit to feeling more than a bit cynical today. Why? Why? Why? Indeed, why do we always act so surprised when something bad happens and then immediately ask this whopper of a question, 'How could God let something like this happen'? I have received numerous calls asking me that question. And here is, I believe, the answer to that. God DOES NOT let these things happen. WE HUMANS DO. Our sinfulness, our brokenness, our disregard for life, that is what allows tragedies, violent acts to happen. God doesn't allow these things. These are acts committed by human beings and not God. We cannot blame God for what a human being does.

I am also asking myself the question of why am I not outraged every single day over the utter lack of respect for life? What am I doing to be a source of hope and change in the world? Why am I complacent and desensitized? As a human being I am part of either the solution or the problem. We all are.

The papers have been full of editorials with people pontificating on who is to blame and I must say that I found them to be rubbish. I know that I will get some folk mad at me for saying this but I was utterly horrified by numerous writers assertion that if we had let our college students carry guns on campus then this tragedy would not have happened! I mean, come on! I don't know about you but I painfully remember my college years. A college student is not always the most calm, rational thinking person. The college years are hard enough as one grows into adulthood without adding guns to the mix. Can you imagine hormonally charged, alcohol fueled parties where students are carrying guns?! Imagine what would happen at out of control college parties fueled by alcohol and toss in some bullets! That thought is enough to make me drive to the university where my middle nephew attends and pack him up and never let him go back! I do not want any of my nephews, now or in the future, to be subject to a campus like that. I don't want them to have to try and get an education at The OK' Corral worried that if they tick someone off they will fire a gun at him. It's insanity.

Why do we jump to violence as the solution to violence? Why do we think that killing is the solution for killing? We can look to the Bible to see that this type of thinking doesn't get us very far. We can look at our own history and see that!

I do not stand here today and claim I have a solution. As long as there are people on this planet there will be violent acts committed. For some reason, in general, we tend to pick and choose who we think is worthy of life. Without a consistent ethic of life, we will always pick one group as worthy of life and another as not worthy. That is the ultimate tragedy. All life from conception to natural death is to be respected and protected. God does not pick and choose who is worthy or not and wipe out "these people" over "those people" so why do we think we can? As God loves us, so are we to love one another. That is the only way things will ever get better. All life must be respected. That is what Jesus commanded when he said we must love God with all our heart, mind and soul and our neighbor just as God has loved us.

Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Peter has to tell Jesus three times, not for Jesus to understand but so that Peter himself can understand. Loving Jesus means that we are to love one another and serve one another. As Christians we are commanded by Jesus to treat one another as Jesus has treated us. That is hard to accept at times but it isn't optional. ALL LIFE from conception to natural death is sacred. If we do not attempt to live that way, then we cannot expect things to get better and we better stop blaming God for our own messes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

We are Catholics and we are Saved!

Second Week of Easter 2007
Mass Readings:
Acts 5:17-26
John 3:16-21

I live in a rather bohemian area of Louisville. It is full of eclectic shops, restaurants, a rather artsy movie theater and my favorite is a huge record store. One of the things I like best is that I can leave my car in the garage and walk to just about anything I need. One of the joys I experience is being able to go out and take a stroll in the evening especially when the weather is nice.

Recently there has been a group of young adults standing outside in multiple spots up and down the street and trying to witness for Christ. I am all for that. I remember doing that when I was in my church's youth group. They start off with the typical question of "if you die tonight, where will you go"? I have been stopped multiple times by this group and asked the same question over and over. Of course being the smart mouth I often am, my first response was that I would be going to the funeral home right after I died. Apparently this individual didn't care for my humor. So he asked me with a little more force and a note of impatience and added that if I died tonight I would go to hell if I wasn't a Christian. OK. I am still fine with this although he still doesn't think I am funny. That's OK. A lot of people think I'm not funny. So I responded that yes I know where I would go. He says, "you need to tell me where you will end up". Alright, I go along and say that I KNOW I will go to heaven because I believe in Christ and that I have dedicated myself to ministry as a Catholic priest. That threw him. You could have heard a pin drop. Apparently being a Catholic meant to him that I am doomed to hell and he needed to "save" me. At that point it wasn't funny anymore and I walked away.

Throughout American history there have been individuals and groups who proclaim that Catholics aren't saved and are going to hell, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure many of you have heard that too. Truth is, WE ARE SAVED! The very blood that saved that man witnessing on the street is the same blood that has saved you and me! As Catholics we are Christians saved by the blood of Christ! You and I have been reborn by water and the Holy Spirit in baptism. We are fed with Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. We are SAVED and don't let anyone try to tell you that you aren't!

I have grown weary of people who know little to nothing about Catholicism and then declare that we are not Christians saved by the blood of Christ. Enough! Let us Catholics boldly proclaim that yes, we are Christians, and we are saved just like every believer. Everyone that professes Jesus is Lord is saved!

Now go you Catholics, you born again, saved disciples of the Risen Lord and proclaim it boldly!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'll do anything for Jesus! But not while American Idol is on.

Second Sunday of Easter 2007
Mass Readings
Acts 5:12-16
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
John 20:19-31

Recently I was at a very nice dinner. I was very impressed to say the least. It was a rather large gathering and I was seated with folks I had never met before. As I was taking my first bite, THE comment came from across the table; "Father, let me tell you what's wrong with the Church". Well, so much for a nice relaxing dinner. I have heard that statement many times along with things like; "The Church isn't what it use to be", the Church isn't doing this or that, etc. Interesting enough, I never hear anyone claim that there is anything wrong him or herself. It is always The Church that is the problem.

I have read op-ed pieces on various religious web sites that deal with the Roman Catholic Church and I am greatly puzzled by some of them. Why is it that there is always something "wrong" with the Church and never anything wrong with us, the people? We are the Church! If there is so much supposedly wrong with the Church, then why aren't we blaming ourselves? If we think the Church is not fervently proclaiming the Gospel, then wouldn't it make sense that it is our own personal lack of commitment that is the problem?

Listening to this individual say that the Church "isn't what it use to be", I asked what era of the Church he was referring to. Should we be more like the Church of the 3rd Century? 10th century? 18th Century? What century saw perfection?

So I was reflecting on what he said, especially when he talked of the Church's "lack of commitment". That statement made me almost choke on my food. So I asked him if he had ever tried to get people to come to a prayer service on the night American Idol is on! I mean, come on! you can't get people to turn off Sanjaya long enough to barely breathe let alone come to church! The blasted television, sporting events, concerts, etc. seem to always be more important! It isn't the Church that has changed but rather it is us! If we think the Church is lacking fervor then the blame rests on us. If we think the Church is watered down, then the problem is that WE the people are watering things down! The Church stands today firmly on Jesus Christ just as it did the day Jesus gave the Great Commission.

In our Gospel text today, Jesus gives the disciples the fantastic gift of the Holy Spirit. They are given power to proclaim the Good News of salvation. Fact is, we have been given that same gift! We have been baptized, confirmed, and receive the Body and Blood of Christ and are called to go forth and preach Jesus! The Church hasn't changed in it's mission, WE have. I think it is actually about US and OUR lack of commitment to God that is the problem.

Jesus stands before the disciples in our text and gives them everything they need to be his disciples. The same gift of the Spirit that Peter and the other disciples received is the same Spirit given to us today. However, WE have to say yes to that call and receive the gift. WE have to be dedicated. WE have to be faithful in our devotion and service to God. This is one of those times when we can say it is truly all about US. WE are the only one's responsible if things aren't going as well as we think they should be. God hasn't changed so it must be that WE are the one's who have changed.

With all that God has given us, WE must be diligent in doing God's work. So the next time WE think that something is wrong with the level of dedication in the Church, maybe WE need to turn off The Idol, get busy with prayer and be the faithful disciples we say the Lord needs. If WE are not willing to do that then WE need to stop complaining.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sorry Jesus. I didn't recognize you.

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter 2007
April 10, 2007
Mass Readings:
Acts 2:36-41
John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene's response to Jesus at the tomb was something that perplexed me no end when I was a kid. I was that kid every Sunday School teacher dreads, the one who asks a myriad of questions trying to make issues of faith into tangibles. I am sure I gave my teacher a few gray hairs. I guess I still cause a lot gray hairs! SO why didn't Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus? Was it a Clark Kent moment? Did Jesus part his hair different that day?

I post those questions with tongue in cheek so please forgive me. No disrespect is intended. It's just that it is a bit confusing. Mary Magdalene knew Jesus so well and it is curious she didn't recognise him. Or is it? Jesus has risen from the dead, his earthly body has been transformed into the perfect body that we will all receive on the day of resurrection. Jesus is transformed into what we await, the perfection of spirit and body that will enter Heaven.

Mary Magdalene is first witness to the Resurrection and is given a vision of what awaits all who proclaim Jesus is Lord. What an amazing gift she is given! It is no wonder that her senses are overwhelmed. Mary Magdalene sees fully the promise of Salvation and Resurrection. So I gues it isn't so surprising she didn't recognise him. The problem is our refusal to reconise Christ.

So how does this apply to us in the 21st century? I believe that we are challenged by our Gospel text today to recognise God in everything and everyone. That means seeing God in one another, the glory of God in creation. We are called to recognise God in the Eucharist the Body and Blood of our Lord! We are called to become that which we receive! We can be blinded by sin. We can be blinded by our apathy and cynicism. As a result we fail to recognise Christ among us and we miss the glorious miracles that are worked in our midst every single day.

We come to Mass to worship our Lord. We come to Mass to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and become that which we receive adn to in turn be faithful witness to the Gospel. We are called as the Lord's disciples, to see the face of our Lord in one another. When we are able to do that then we can truly be like Mary Magdalene, our eyes will be opened and we can see Jesus as he truly is, the source of our Salvation!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

What seemed the end was just the beginning!

Easter Sunday 2007
The Resurrection of the Lord

Mass Readings
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Col 3:1-4
John 20:1-9

The Lord's body is gone and the disciples are frantic. To dare show their faces in public is a sign of how distraught they are. The ones who had run away from Jesus as he was being crucified are now running to his tomb to see for themselves if Jesus is gone. Yet they still don't understand. They believed in the resurrection when it was just a theory but now they are faced with the immense reality and it overwhelms them. the first thought is that Jesus' body has been stolen.

Their heads must have been swimming with frightening thoughts. Is he alive? Has he been stolen? Is he truly the Son of God? Was he just moved to another tomb? Are we really going to see him again??? The questions must have been myriad! Soon, they would all know the answer. Soon, Jesus would stand in their midst and give them the power and authority to proclaim the Resurrection and the gift of God's Salvation. What was feared to be the end was truly the beginning of our salvation!

We gather here today because we are a people redeemed by the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. Today we proclaim and celebrate that Jesus is God the Son and that he conquered the power of sin and death and has freely given this gift to his disciples. We are the very disciples Jesus loves! All of us are saved by the blood of Christ! Today we celebrate LIFE!

For those who profess Jesus is Lord, everyday is Easter. Daily we celebrate endings and beginnings. Everyday we strive to die a little more to self so that we might live in the fullness of being Jesus' disciples. We never arrive at perfection until that day when we are seated with Jesus in God the Father's Kingdom. But each day we work to be a bit more faithful to Jesus' commands. And what joyful commands they are!! Everyday we strive to be a bit more loving, a bit more faithful, a bit more prayerful, and the list goes on. Everyday we work towards truly loving God and neighbor, to see the very face of God in one another. Easter Sunday is about being truly alive! And to be truly alive is to live as one of God's children striving to be free of hatred and violence so we can live in peace and service for the glory of the Kingdom of God!

Our purpose on earth is to be the very image of Jesus. We are passing glances in this world as we long to be united with God. The things of this earth are fleeting and will decay and that includes us. Yet we have the eternal, right inside of us, our soul. And that which is eternal must always be the first fostered. We grow in Spirit as we dedicate ourselves to following the Lord. Each and every day we become more alive as we live Jesus' commandments of life, love, faith, fidelity, and service.

As we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord, we also celebrate our resurrection. Salvation brings us all from the death of sin and into the life of Christ! We are reborn today by Word and Sacrament. Today we receive the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Today we are given a share of God's Kingdom and we are called to live boldly Jesus' command to Love God and Neighbor. We live because Jesus lives! Christ the Lord is risen today alleluia! Amen!

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Alpha and Omega

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion 2007
Mass Readings
Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1—19:42

Today we celebrate the most somber of our Holy Days. Today we remember that event which brought us our Salvation, the crucifixion of our Lord. We quiet ourselves and we reflect upon the horrifying sacrifice Jesus made so that we can live.

Sitting in the church last night I was amazed by the contrast between the glorious Holy Thursday, The Mass of the Lord's supper and the stark, somber celebration of Good Friday. We gave praise to God last night in song and the washing of feet. Today we gather in quiet and simplicity. So powerful is what we celebrate today that no song or instrument can lift us above the horrible scene of the crucifixion. The horrible torture and death of our Lord. But that is not the end for tomorrow night we celebrate the amazing Easter Vigil!

I want to focus upon two simple words that Jesus speaks in our Gospel today. Jesus' quiet and humble voice shatters the power of sin. What are those words? I AM. We remember these words because spoke them to Moses in the desert. Jesus proclaims that he is the beginning and the end. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three in one, is the uncaused first cause. God is the beginning, God is the end. Yet for God time isn't the same thing as it is for us. We are a linear creation. We live in 'kronos' (chronos) time while God exists in 'kairos' time. There are no 24 hour days for God. There is no chronological time for God. God is everything! God exists beyond time and space. And here Jesus presents himself as the physical manifestation of all that was, is, and will be. Jesus is the fulfillment of God's love!

It is impossible to fully wrap our heads around the power that is proclaimed by Jesus with those two simple words. The human tongue cannot truly proclaim the depths of Jesus' proclamation. What we can and do know is that Jesus, God the Son, screams into the face of sin and death and destroys it. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross renders sin and death powerless because nothing is or can be more powerful than God. Jesus is truly 'I AM'.

We look to Jesus' sacrifice this day and we give God the gratitude he so richly deserves.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

We are not to seek prestige but be humble servants of Christ.

Holy Thursday 2007
Mass Reading:
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15

Today we celebrate the glorious Mass of the Lord's Supper. Holy Thursday begins the holy time of The Easter Triduum. We pause and take time to remember and honor the journey of Jesus to the cross, his death, burial, and resurrection. We celebrate the glorious gift of our salvation and God's unwavering love for us.

Holy Thursday is a vibrant call to us all that we seek the good of God's people over our own desires and wants. We commemorate this through the action of washing one another's feet. To say that this can be uncomfortable to some would be an understatement.

Every day we are bombarded with the message that we are to strive to be powerful, rich, or famous. Actually the slogan of "I want it all" is programmed in to us beginning in childhood. Prestige is almost a commodity in our modern culture. However, we selfishly pursue prestige, fame, and wealth at our own peril. Now I am not saying that being respected and having money is a bad thing. However, it does become a problem when those things are our reason for living. They are fleeting things in the cosmic scheme of things.

Jesus does something shocking at The Last Supper. Jesus places himself as the disciples servant and does a very intimate thing, he washes their feet. I can think of few things more intimate than taking someones feet and washing them. It is a fantastic sign of respect. It is an action that places the other person above and beyond our own wants. The disciples actually protest Jesus' doing this. How can the Lord humble himself so? Peter is shocked by Jesus' humility. Jesus' gentleness and love is shown in this very simple but spectacular gesture. I can think of nothing more symbolic of being a servant than washing feet.

And so we reenact the Last Supper by the washing of feet and celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We enter that night when Jesus proclaims that in order to be a disciple of his, we must empty ourselves of the lust for power, prestige, wealth, and authority. To truly be a disciple, we must be willing to be the servant of all. In doing that we fulfill Jesus' command to love God and neighbor.

We are all called to "wash one another's feet". We may not physically wash feet but we do the same thing when we willingly place the good of God's people above our own desires and seek to serve. We can do nothing more powerful than to work for the good of God's Children. We can have no greater respect than when we see in one another the face of God. We have no greater wealth than when we say yes to Jesus' call.

When we answer Jesus' call we have more prestige, power, and wealth than we can imagine! To truly and faithfully follow Jesus gives us a part in God's Kingdom and nothing on earth can remotely equal that.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Perfect Fidelity

Palm Sunday 2007
Mass Readings
Procession:Luke 19:28-40
Phil 2:6-11
Luke 22:14—23:56

Honesty. Loyalty. Faithfulness. Love.

We have a burning desire for fidelity. We crave it. We make movies and stage plays and write songs ad nausea about how the lack of fidelity crushes us. Betrayal is a frightening event that wounds and maims. It is a universal experience, the betrayal of love and trust. We humans tend to always find a way to break the commitments, the vows we make seeking a "moral loophole".

The Passion is a scene of great love and devastating betrayal. Jesus is facing the horrors of crucifixion. He is anguish beyond description and he has his friends with him. However, he knows that he has been marked by Judas and that Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus will build his Church, will turn his back on him and deny him. It is gut wrenching to imagine the heartbreak that Jesus experienced at he looked into the eyes of those who would betray and deny him even though he would be faithful to them. Now, Jesus is utterly alone.

The Apostles have walked with Jesus, shared food and hardship, joy and pain, yet they would not be faithful to Jesus on that day of horror. Fidelity would not rule the day but betrayal and fear would reign in the hearts of Jesus' friends. Through it all, Jesus remains the definition of perfect fidelity.

Judas is often overlooked as merely a money hungry and corrupt man. If Judas was so shallow as to merely want money then his great expression of remorse is hollow. It is thought that perhaps Judas was trying to force Jesus' hand by getting him to prove that he was the Messiah. Many, including the Zealots, believed that the Messiah would be a mighty warrior who would crush the Romans and restore Israel. Was Judas trying to get Jesus to do what he believed the Messiah should do? Were the thirty pieces of silver just icing on the cake? We do not know for sure. I do believe Judas' motives were more complicated than merely getting money out of the deal. We do know that Judas would turn his back on Jesus and betray him. Judas would betray the one he claimed to love. Judas would abandon Jesus for his own selfish desires.

Then we have the denial of Peter. Here was the one who proudly proclaimed his love of Jesus. Yet when the reality of the horrors that awaited Jesus arrived, Peter would deny Jesus with venom. Three times Peter would renounce his Lord. Three times Peter would seek to nullify his relationship with Jesus. Three years of living, eating, travelling and sharing in miracles would be as nothing when Peter became terrified. Peter sought to save his own skin while Jesus was facing his death. With friends like that...

We have the scene of Peter watching as Jesus is mocked and questioned. It is a frightening scene for Peter and as he denies Jesus for the final time, Jesus turns and looks at Peter. In that moment, Peter comes face to face with his own betrayal of his Lord. One sells out his Lord, the other denies having ever known him. Absolute failure of those who proclaimed their faith in the Lord. We can only imagine the look on Jesus' face as he looked into Peter's eyes.

Then there is the betrayal of the people. They have witnessed God's hand at work. The miracles that Jesus worked should have been enough! Jesus has loved them and taken care of them. Yet they refuse to believe and they want Jesus silenced. They betray Jesus by asking for the release of a Zealot who had committed acts of religious terrorism. Barabas was a killer and they preferred him over the Jesus. Everything Jesus had done for them meant nothing. Jesus went against what they thought the Messiah should be. Their selfishness led them to betray, convict, and kill an innocent man. Humans are a fickle lot to say the least. As soon as we don't like something, we seek to dispose of it whether it be a possession, an obligation, or a person.

But who is the one who is faithful? The prisoner condemned to die alongside Jesus! The one who would be written off by society is the one who believes in Jesus even as he faces his own terror. This criminal hanging beside Jesus proclaims his faith even while being executed. The onlookers betray while the condemned believes. The ironies of The Passion are amazing!

Jesus is willing to die. Jesus is willing to be sacrificed because of his limitless love of humanity. Jesus would accept the cross because of his perfect fidelity. Regardless of how we respond to Jesus, he still loves us unconditionally and he will never abandon us. We chose to abandon him and we condemn ourselves in that action.

We are given the choice of saying yes or no to Jesus' call. We are invited to share in Jesus' limitless love. Jesus' is the model of perfect fidelity, a fidelity that never betrays, denies or abandons. We are so jaded as a people in part due to the betrayal of trust that we experience in our life. The "moral loopholes" that are practiced is numbing to the soul. In Jesus we have the love that will never betray, lie, cheat, or abandon. Why is it so hard for us at times to see the fullness of Jesus' love?

Can we practice such unwavering fidelity? I believe that we can, in part. We will always be tempted to practice "premeditated moral failure" (A definition of sin I got from a good friend that I think is brilliant.) Or we can just call it sin. Sin isn't something that just happens. We make a choice, it is premeditated. We are imperfect and we will mess up from time to time. The glory is that even when we willfully disobey Jesus, he never abandons us. His perfect fidelity will not be shattered. Jesus will love us even when we believe that we are unlovable.

We are given Jesus' love so freely that it is hard to wrap our heads around it. Jesus' faithfulness is beyond anything we experience in our day to day life. Yet it gives us the model to strive for. We are called to be faithful to God and to one another. We are given a choice to accept or deny Jesus' call to perfect fidelity. To accept his call is to be given a share of God's Kingdom. To refuse, well, the loss we would experience is too much to bear. We will not be perfect. We will stumble and mess up. That is why we have the love of Christ to carry us home to God's glorious Kingdom.