THE CROSS: SYMBOL OF AMAZING LOVE

THEME: THE CROSS: SYMBOL OF AMAZING LOVE
Readings: 2 Chron. 36:14-16, 19-23 / Ephesians 2:4-10/ John 3:14-21
4th Sunday of Lent

Christlove, a girl in her teens, wondered why her mother had abandoned her as she was brought up by her stepmother. She was often depressed until she visited her grandmother who explained the absence of her mother. Her grandmother told her: “Your mother, Nyamedor, did not abandoned you. Nyamedor, couldn’t have done that, as she was a very loving and industrious lady, whom I miss every day. She married your dad at age 32, five (5) years after a business which she had established after her postgraduate studies was thriving.”

“By the grace of God,” the grandmother continued, “soon after her wedding, she took seed of you, and for months she took good care of herself and you, yet to be born. Unfortunately, three weeks to the expected date of her delivery, she was diagnosed of a condition, which required the termination of the life of the baby, if she had to survive. Christlove, your mother’s great love and plans for you, made her choose to die in order to save your life. And so, three days after her thirty-third birthday, your loving mother and my beloved daughter, Nyamedor, lost her life as you came into this world. She willed all her possessions to you.”

Though in tears by this time, Christlove managed to exclaim: “What an amazing love!” This would be the turning point in her life. With the emotions of great love for her mother running through her like a new infusion of blood, Christlove was energized to honour her memory. She would do so, firstly, by placing in her room a large-size portrait of her mother with the inscription “Amazing Love”. Secondly, she decided to always carry in her handbag a smaller size of the picture. Thirdly, she would aspire to achieve all that the mother planned for her and more: she completed all her studies with high honours; she became a successful medical doctor who by the age of 45 years had established a medical centre; she established an orphanage and a foundation; these facilities and the foundation were named after her mother. She kept pictures of her mother with the “Amazing Love” inscription in all her facilities.

Likewise, today’s gospel reading reminds us of the amazing love of God. It was out of His awesome love that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us (cf. John 3:16-17). Today’s second reading elaborates on this point: “God, …because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6).

To save us from our sins, Jesus Christ, like Christlove’s mother, chose to die, because of His great love. Thus, the night before His death, Jesus would say: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). In what particular manner would Jesus die for us? He alluded to the type of death He would experience to save us, when He said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). Here, His lifting up refers to His crucifixion on the cross.

Now, here are some lessons for us. Firstly, as the picture of Chritstlove’s mother became a symbol of the latter’s amazing love, so the cross of Jesus must be for us the symbol of His amazing love!

Secondly, as Christlove always had the mother’s picture with her and in all her facilities, so let us always cherish Jesus’ cross, the symbol of amazing love, by:

  • Always consciously making the sign of the cross with faith and reverence, knowing that the message of the cross is the power of God for those being saved (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18)
  • Always confidently making the sign of the cross even before non-believers
  • Often having a rosary (with its crucifix) with us
  • Displaying the crucifix in our homes, offices, shops, cars, etc.
  • Showing reverence to the cross, especially, on Good Friday

Finally, as Christlove honoured the memory of her loving mother by charitable works to orphans and other needy people (through her foundation), so let us honour the amazing love of Jesus by loving others as He has loved us (cf. John 13:34). Amen.

By Most Rev. John Kobina Louis

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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