I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works (Jas 2, 18)
In Jesus, the Suffering Servant, God’s invisible and pure love becomes visible and exposes itself to the corruptibility of the flesh.
No one has ever seen God; the only Son is the one who makes him known. Hence, God’s love is revealed in Jesus’ love.
Jesus loves in word and deed. He shows his love by teaching calmly and leisurely those who are like sheep without a shepherd. His teaching has the authority that is missing in those who preach but do not practice as well as the radicalism that is necessary so that one may fulfill perfectly the law and the prophets and go beyond self-righteousness.
For love of the sheep, the Good Shepherd makes them recline on green pasture so that they may eat and have their fill. He looks for them when they stray. He cures every disease and illness, and eats with tax collectors and sinners, for he has come precisely for the sick and the sinners. He is not afraid to get dirty.
The specter of death does not make Jesus turn back, notwithstanding his feeling distressed and troubled. The opposition on the part of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, who are bent on maintaining the status quo, does not stop him from continuing to welcome the excluded, to announce God’s love to the least, to offer forgiveness and salvation to sinners (José Antonio Pagola).
Finally, the one who has become sin and a curse for us is utterly spent for the sake of the hapless. He loves us to death, and thus becomes exactly like the abandoned who have nothing but their complete trust in God.
Needless to say, the love of God, proven very clearly in the Suffering Servant’s love, impels us to love as the latter has loved us, to go to the outskirts, to be shepherds who smell like sheep. Our love cannot stop at good wishes or lofty thoughts; it has to bear much fruit, as St. Vincent de Paul indicates (SV.FR XI:40). Abundant fruit shows our faith and our confession of Jesus as the Christ to be alive and authentic.
It will not be enough for us either to memorialize Christ’s self-emptying love in the Eucharist, if we do not avail of every opportunity to help the poor in every way (SV.FR XII:87-88). And if we really have Bl. Frédéric Ozanam’s desire “to embrace the world in a network of charity,” would it bother us that the government provides social safety net to the helpless?
Lord, give us the grace to love in deed and truth.