Sunday, September 21, 2008

How Awesome God's Love

"Unconditional Love" Jonathan and son Benjamin

Blessed Assurance
Matthew 20:1-16

Reflecting upon the scripture readings of the day in meditation or lectio divina is an ancient monastic tradition, providing an anchor to ones day of prayer whether a contemplative nun or busy person beyond the monastery walls. My own reflection this morning was pure gift as is the message of today's Gospel.

How utterly wonderful that God is like the compassionate, generous landowner in this story. Whether the day laborer was hired at dawn or mid-afternoon he receives the same wage, the wage necessary to keep him and his family fed for one day. What was Jesus trying to illustrate by this story? There are many layers of meaning. But one in particular filled my heart this morning.

God's love for me is as great as the love God has for the perfect saint! Even though I came late to square to present my labor for hire; even though I have done a fraction of the work that others have contributed; I will receive the same reward! It hardly makes sense. What a consolation this is in a world where much too often love is given, if at all, in scant quantity, slowly, ever so slowly emerging as if from an eye dropper unwilling to give up its contents. Expressions of love are so frequently doled out with great parsimony and capriciousness. To find a human being capable of generous, unconditional love is the gift of a lifetime.

In my morning meditation Jesus gave assurance of God's love not only for our consolation but also as example of how we are to be. As much as we rejoice to be the recipients of such largess, we are, in turn, to open ourselves to pour out such generosity upon others. God's love is the instrument of our freedom, the balm that salves the wounds which bind us, so that we hold everything so close in fear that if we give it away there will be nothing left. This new way can be the work of a lifetime but we can never cease trying.

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