Gospel – John 3:16-18
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Everything and everyone is the result of God’s lovemaking.
The Trinity is the very ICON of self-emptying love, complete and perfect “kenosis,” the Greek word that best captures the “out-pouring” nature of God’s Love. The Greek Cappadocian Fathers, like Basil of Caesarea and the two Gregorys of Nyssa and Nazianzus, loved to compare the Trinitarian
Love of God to buckets on a watermill, the love of the Three constantly over-spilling into one another, the complete intercirculation of love.
Our Greek mothers and fathers called this understanding of Trinitarian Love “perichoresis,” the ever-giving, the ever-receiving circle dance of love making! Ah, now we know! We, along with all of creation, are fundamentally the result of intimacy and can only be fulfilled living in intimacy.
We began this whole Season of Jubilation, this Paschal/Easter Season, proclaiming our origin from our first Scriptural testament, the Creation Story. “Let there be. . . “. This leitmotif of Genesis reveals that the very existence of this incredible cosmos is the result of kenotic love, creation, as it
were, tumbling forth into existence, the result of such self-emptying, such non-clinging, such “letting go” LOVE!
Creation, therefore, is an extraordinary mirror of giving and receiving, of everything connected, everything in “relationship!” Quantum physic and all the modern sciences have made this indubitably irrefutable! For the mystics have always taught us that all creation, that includes us, is
the result of God’s reckless and lavish love-making. Our fundamental nature, therefore, is to live in that ecstatic, kenotic, love communion of God’s own Self! “Our hearts shall not rest until they rest in Thee,” giving due to one of the great western Church Fathers, St. Augustine, is another way
of saying, our entire DNA is oriented towards giving and receiving love.
Two beautiful stories that can be used to begin the homiletic reflection that capture the “kenotic” relationship of authentic love, human love that reflects the God of infinite giving and receiving, are the classic “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry and the film, “Babette’s Feast.” Both can be easily
It goes without saying Jesus is THE Story that is our encounter with this kenotic God, the One who “poured himself out” for our sakes. Cynthia Bourgeault, in her insightful book, The Wisdom Jesus, writes, “Thus He came and thus He went, giving Himself fully into life and into death, losing
Himself, squandering Himself, gambling away every good gift God bestows.”
In Christ’s death and resurrection, God makes it so very clear that it is not love stored up, love hoarded, but love utterly poured out that opens the gates to the kin-dom of heaven! Such is the kenotic path of Jesus, such is the kenotic path of God, such is the kenotic path of everyone who follows the Christ, who is ever open to life in the Trinity.
This kenotic Trinitarian God is made visible in the many doctors, nurses and medical staff, as well as in so many “first responders,” who are pouring themselves out for the sake of the thousands who have been afflicted with COVID-19.
This kenotic Trinitarian God is made visible in the many who are faithfully engaged in the implementation and promotion of Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si” encyclical, pouring themselves out for the sake of healing our star-planet earth and its environs.
This kenotic Trinitarian God is made visible in the many who are exposing the racism and intolerance eating away at the soul of this nation, promoting racial justice on every level of society.
This kenotic Trinitarian God is made visible in the many who pour themselves out for affordable housing, universal health care, equally-funded national public school education and college education available to all.
This kenotic Trinitarian God is made visible in the many . . . (homilist can fill in the blanks)
This kenotic Trinitarian God of inter-relationship is encountered and celebrated in the central ritual of our faith lives, the Eucharist, through, with and in Christ, through with and in each other. It is at the Table of Holy Communion we are plunged into the Mystery of kenotic LOVE and then
are sent forth to live it!
Fr. Francis Gargani, C.Ss.R.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever