The Tenderness of God

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe, Sacred Heart-B, 08 June 2018
Hosea 11:1,3-4,8-9///Ephesians 3:8-12,14-9///John 19:31-37 

One of my all-time favorite love songs is Billy Joel’s “Leave a Tender Moment Alone.” (https://youtu.be/JHpIC4Kk0MU)  The poetry of its lyrics and its lovely melody introduced by a stirring harmonica always bring the “kilig moments” of every man’s love experience:

Even though I’m in love
Sometimes I get so afraid
I’ll say something so wrong
Just to have something to say

I know the moment isn’t right
To tell the girl a comical line
To keep the conversation light
I guess I’m just frightened out of my mind

But if that’s how I feel
Then it’s the best feeling I’ve even known
It’s undeniably real
Leave a tender moment alone

While praying over the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I kept on hearing this song playing in my mind because our celebration today is actually about the tenderness of God.  See how He had spoken through the prophet Hosea in the first reading like a Father to us.  Let us personalize His words and be immersed in His tenderness: “As a child I loved you, I called you my son.  The more I called you, the farther you went away from me.”(Hos.11:1-2)

             Is it not this is how our love relationship is with our parents and family including God? When we were kids, we loved running to our dad, taking pride for being his son or daughter, always clinging to his big hands?  During the early years of marriage, couples seem to be so inseparable.  But as we mature and find new friends and new relationships, we drift apart from our parents or spouse, including God.  And worst, we drive them away, even feeling ashamed of them especially when they come near us with their gestures of love and concern.  But, when problems arise in our new relationships like betrayal and infidelity, we go back to them, most especially to God, rediscovering their genuine love that is so tender and very comforting:  “I took you in my arms, drew you with human cords with bands of love. I fostered you like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed you my child, you did not know I am your healer.”(Hos.11:3-7)

             Unlike Billy Joel in his song “Leave A Tender Moment Alone,” God makes no mistakes in loving us.  He remains faithful to us with His love, even “allowing” us often to sin and commit mistakes so that eventually, when we hit rock bottom, we rediscover Him and His love that is so real and so personal.  This “stooping down” by God that He had spoken to Hosea hundreds of years earlier took its deepest plunge when He sent us Jesus Christ His Son as our Savior by dying on the Cross.  St. John tells us how on that Good Friday soldiers broke the legs of the other two thieves crucified with Jesus to hasten their death; but, when they saw Jesus “already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (Jn.19:33-34)

According to St. John, this fulfilled the Old Testament that “Not a bone of it will be broken” and that “They will look upon him whom they have pierced”(Jn.19:36), thus identifying Jesus Christ as the new lamb offered once and for all to God for the forgiveness of our sins.  It verified the words of John the Baptist also found in the fourth gospel describing Jesus as “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, the perfect offering on the Cross and expression of God’s immense love for each of us.  His death on the Cross is the most tender moment of love in history when our God who personally loves us by becoming like us in everything except sin loved us until the last drop of His blood because we are His beloved brothers and sisters in His loving and faithful Father in heaven we have always deserted in our many sins.  Indeed, when blood and water flowed out from His pierced side on the Cross, the ocean of Divine Mercy flowed out for us, forgiving our most grievous sins, regardless of our many weaknesses.  In His Most Sacred heart, Jesus is inviting us to always leave some tender moments alone with Him so that “He may dwell also in our hearts through faith so that once we are rooted and grounded in His love, we may have the strength to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of His love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with the fullness of God.”(cf. Eph.3:17-19)

It is an imperative for us all to be “rooted and grounded in His love” because human love is always imperfect.  Only God can love us perfectly in Christ Jesus who offered Himself on the Cross to fulfill what we have failed since the beginning – that is, to love God and others. Oh what a loving God we have in Him as we pray, Jesus meek and humble heart make my heart like thine!  Amen. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Photo from Google.

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