To Infinity and Beyond
Recently, I watched a rebroadcast of the movie, “Toy Story.” Andy received for his birthday the latest and greatest toy on the market, a Buzz Lightyear. Much to the dismay of his formerly beloved action figure Sheriff Woody, Andy loved his new Buzz Lightyear “to infinity and beyond.” Eventually, and through many adventures, Woody and all of the toys recalled their own moments in the spotlight of Andy’s love and they reciprocated in kind. Woody and Buzz and Mr. Potato Head and Rex and Slinky Dog understood the timelessness of true unconditional love and shared it with each other.
Through today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to this kind of enduring, persistent love. He suggests that we turn the other cheek and go the extra mile. He asks his listeners then and now to share a radical new love — to love as God loves – and that includes even those we call our enemies. Who are the people in your life you find difficult to love? What must we do to love as God loves? Jesus is challenging us to move away from our old way of doing things (judgment, anger, resentment, envy) and approach others with a generous heart. He wants us to go beyond what is fair and do what is kind. We need a conversion. After all, He accepted the challenge himself — stripped of his garments, never resisting ill treatment, offering forgiveness from the cross, and dying for all of us.
In further instruction, Jesus tells us “to be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” How can we possibly reach perfection in the eyes of God?! Jesus understands the imperfections of being human. He knows we will try and fail in our efforts to be holy. He does not want us to “go it alone.” In community, as a people of God, we learn and grow and love and support, striving for wholeness with God in the sacraments. Only by turning toward God, could we hope to experience, share, and reciprocate such complete love.
This weekend, Padre Serra Parish will send 13 fallible and flawed humans to the Rite of Election, answering a call to a relationship with Christ through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion. They hear the Good News and allow it to guide them to make the necessary changes to follow Jesus. They pray, study, and complete the work of discipleship. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the catechumens eagerly express their intention to receive the sacraments. The all-encompassing love of Christ has changed their hearts. We, the parishioners, offer our prayers and example, encouraging them to oneness in the body of Christ. We contribute to the sense of trust and belonging that brings them to a life with God
Woody and Buzz belonged to Andy, and Andy used all of his toys in fun and creative ways. However difficult it may be to “see the face of God” in everyone we meet, we all belong to God. The Spirit of God lives in each one us, therefore, we all have an immense capacity for unconditional love. As the Church, may we continue to model loving as God loves, drawing his people home.
Peace and joy,
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