Fourth Sunday of Easter
Second Reading: 1 John 3: 1-2
The word John uses is “lavished”. Anything to do with lavishing is - to coin a phrase - “over the top”! It is generosity gone mad - giving far more than the other can receive. A lavish banquet is one in which we feed ourselves to the full - but remain aware that there are other tasty morsels left unsavoured!
So with God's love. Jesus did not sacrifice himself to make us aware of guilt and shame. He offered himself to make us aware of the lavish nature of God's love - what more could God give us? It is true that our awareness of this love makes us more aware of our sinfulness - but not in ways that trap us and bind us to our guilt. We are, instead, even more aware of the lavish love of God for people who can do nothing to deserve it.
It is an awareness that can put us outside what others call “normal” - as John puts it: the world rejects us because it cannot understand us. That is perhaps our sacrifice.
But, as John reminds us - what is such a sacrifice in the face of what we have received in return. The lavish love - gone further in God's adoption as children of his own heart.
And then - as is the nature of lavish love - it is to go further! For, we have the love - we are already God's children - but it is not over yet - we do not know what we are yet to become - the future is not ours to know. But, it seems reasonable to suppose that the generosity of God has still not been used up - there is more to come.
John interprets this as growing more like Christ. As we grow in love and perfection, so our earthly bodies and lives become more and more ready to give way to the spiritual - when we shall be like Christ - and be able at last to see him as he really is.
What does this mean for me?