Love Given, Even When Misunderstood
Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel. Hosanna in the highest.
A reflection from Father Tudgay for Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion.
There is nothing so painful as a person who loves another, when the love that is given isn’t returned. We call this unrequited love and in the world of literature, it is probably the most popular literary form… because it is probably the one feeling/experience that most have had. William Shakespeare wrote extensively of the impact that unrequited love has on the human heart. In his own words, Shakespeare captures the exhausting impact of unrequited love, The cause of this fair gift to me is wanting, he muses in Sonnet 87. Loving another and not being loved in return or in proportion to the love given, Shakespeare argues, is so often the basis of the basic human experience of human heartbreak.
Unrequited love… if there is any concept to capture salvation history, it is that. The history of God’s interaction with humanity throughout its history is one of offering love on God’s part, through a covenant, and the human response of its rejection. God is quite familiar with unrequited love. You and I probably would’ve quit after a few tries. A friend or loved one would tell us to move on, get over it, look ahead. And here we see so clearly the disparity between fallible, exhaustible human love and the unfathomable, inexhaustible, unreasonable love that God has for us.
This week, we enter into the holiest of weeks, of sacred time. By sacred, I mean that actual time this week does not belong to us as individuals, or even collectively. During this week, time elapses and we are drawn into the infinite, into the fullness of time to see the action of God in our midst. The Christian has the privilege of observing and experiencing this week like no other: this week, everything… time and creation and reality, itself, belong to Jesus Christ in the actions that he chooses to take on our behalf in obedience to the Father’s desire and will.
This week, the only thing that matters in the entire Universe is the activity of Jesus Christ, in life and in his death. The sacredness of this week is that everything and all things belong solely to God the Father and his plan for our salvation. This week, God’s response to the unrequited love of the human race is to send his Son right into the heart of sin, itself, and to transform it from within. This week, all creation is transformed and we are given a new capacity to love. This week, human history is redeemed and human future is saved by the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, through whom we are now able to make even a modest response to the infinite love that God has for us!
Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.