“What will separate us from the love of Christ?” This is the question St. Paul asks in today's Second Reading from the Letter to the Romans.
It's a good question, don't you think?
St. Paul quickly proceeds to answer it, but he does so by saying what will not separate us from the love of Christ. Here's his list: anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, the sword, death, life, angels, principalities, present things, future things, powers, height, depth, any creature.
That pretty much covers everything. Jesus' love for us is broader and deeper than we can ever comprehend. He loves us in the midst of our trials and fears. He loves us when things aren't going well. He loves us when we are persecuted. He loves us when we lack physical necessities. He loves us when we are threatened. He loves us in life and death. He loves us so much that even angels and other creatures can't sway His love. He loves us now and in the future (and in the past, too). He loves us no matter where we are, physically or spiritually.
We doubt this, though, so very often. We wonder how Jesus can love us when everything is going wrong in our lives. Where is He then? We must realize, during those times, that Jesus allows us to experience trials and difficulties not because He doesn't love us but because He does and because He has a plan for our lives and lessons to teach us that we may not understand right away. Jesus loves us in the bad times just as much as in the good.
If all these things do not separate us from the love of Christ, how, then, do we answer St. Paul's question? What will, in fact, separate us from the love of Christ?
There is only one answer. We can, if we so choose, separate ourselves from the love of Christ. This doesn't mean that He ceases to love us. It does mean, however, that we can freely decide to turn our backs on Christ's love and cut ourselves off from Him. This is greatest tragedy a human being can ever experience, far more severe and perilous than any earthly trial, for it involves the risk of loosing Jesus for all eternity. Remember; Jesus does not send anyone to hell. People choose that option by committing moral sin, which cuts them off from God, empties their souls of sanctifying grace (the presence of God with them), and if not repented, leads to hell. Such a decision, to say no to the Lord, to spurn His love, breaks His heart.
Jesus, may we never, ever separate ourselves from Your love. We know that You love us always and forever and that the only way we can lose that love is through our own choice. Even then, Lord, You do not stop loving us and wait eagerly for our repentance that You can once more wrap us in Your arms. Jesus, never let us forget Your great love. Amen.