Jesus is the love of God en-fleshed in
our human nature. Hence, his life--especially his self-offering on the
cross--reveals in the most profound way both what true humanity looks like and
what the essence of authentic human love is:
"The sacrifice of the cross--the
laying down of one's life for others--is the definitive model for all
genuine human love" (Pope John Paul II. General Audience, Aug. 31st,
sacrificial love of Jesus on the cross is the definitive model for all
effective intercessory prayer.
I can better understand the words of
Jesus spoken in John 15:13--"No one has greater love than this, to lay
down one's life for one's friends"--when I first understand the profound love
of the Father spoken of in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that
he gave his only son." The word, so, means 'to a great extent'. The Father who
so loves the world that he is pleased to give us Jesus; and Jesus who so loves
the Father that he is pleased to offer himself on the cross for the world:
Together, the love of the Father and the love of Jesus is the "no greater love"
spoken of in John 15:13. The love of the Father and the love of the Son are one
and the same love.
In giving Jesus to the world with such
a profound love, the Father reveals the greatness of His love: The love of the
Father "who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all"
(Rom. 8:32). Authentic love spares nothing--withholds nothing from the
offering--but gives for the sake of the good of others. "For us men and for our
salvation" the Father gave us Jesus as our "saving victim". Also, through Jesus
the Fatherreveals the magnitude of His
love "for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us"
(Rom. 5:8). It was while we were sunk in the darkened abyss—in the depravity of
sin and death—that Jesus offered " the supreme example, the matchless exemplar
of real love" on the cross (Thomas Dubay, S.M. Deep conversion/Deep
Prayer, p. 70). At the "hour" of Jesus' death ransomed humanity offered no
gesture or words of thanks neither to the Father nor to the Son!
This most profound handing over of the
Son by the Father (see John 3:16) expresses so perfect a love that St. John
uses it as the very definition of love, itself:
"In this is love: Not that we have loved
God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins" (1
So vast is the love of Jesus that it has
transformed death forever:
"He was able to make of death an act
of offering, an act of [supreme] love, an act of ransom and of
liberation from sin and from death itself" (JP II, General Audience, Nov. 2,
In the Gospel of John we are told that Jesus
"loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end" (John 13:1).
The cross is the summit of enduring love. As St. Paul reminds us, "Love...endures
all things" (1 Cr. 13:1,7); and, "Love never fails" ( 1 Cr. 13:8). In
the word, endure, one sees the word, end. The love of Jesus
perseveres to the end: "For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured
the cross" (Heb. 12:2); "It is finished" (John 19:30):
"The perfect picture of genuine love is this
same Lord on the cross. When we love as he loved us, we have a deep prayer
life" (Thomas Dubay, S.M. Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within, p.
do I still need growth in order to love as Jesus loves?
in my life do I struggle to persevere in love to the end?
Any scripture from the text; Is. 53:12B; Mark 10:45; Heb.