Philo-Gratia Catholic World Evangelical Outreach May 24th, 2009 (Seventh Sunday of Easter) Readings: Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26 1 John 4:11-16 John 17: 11-19 Theme :Recognizing The DNA of Love We Share with the Divine “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:11-16) Everyone that walks through this mother earth--irrespective of age, culture, statues, or beliefs--naturally desires to see the face of God. People desire to see the face of God in order to experience the most sublime mystery of His unconditional love. The natural desire to see the face of God begins in childhood. In our innocence, we feel the paternal and the maternal side of God. It is a carry over of the tenderness showed to us while we were still in the womb. The picture of God as a loving father stems from the loving presence of our biological parents, who through their faith and values, continue to make love available to us with the view of helping us realize the essence of our selfhood in the context of unconditional love. My childhood experience attests to the above assertion. When I was growing up as a child, I had the opportunity on multiple occasions to engage my parents in a mature and responsible discussion, which for them was permissible as it helped me in my journey of self- actualization. One of the questions I couldn‟t help but ask my mother was centered on the possibility of seeing the face of God in reality. I tried different forms of prayer to see if God would appear to me and speak to me directly. My mother recognized and appreciated my effort but asked me not to worry, telling me that as I grew up and as history unfolded, I would come to realize the full essence of God. I saw her care for the weak and do a lot of humanitarian service, but because of my age I couldn‟t really make meaning out of it until I became an adult. In my adulthood, experience became the teacher of my life. I fully came to realize that I did not need any ascetic experience to see the face of Jesus, as He really is (the “epitome of love”). As I turned to the street, I remember the words of the Stations of the Cross, which profoundly articulate the fullness of God‟s face to a broken world. The words were, “Where is my face you may ask? It is at home when eyes well up with tears, it is in the office when tempers flare, it is on the playground when children get hurt, in broken families, this is where my face is.” From my new existential perspective, I could clearly see our broken world was truly carrying the face of Jesus. I turned to the slums and I saw Jesus in the face of the homeless reminding me of the need to be proactive in making an effort to provide a home. I saw the face of Jesus in drug addicts, reminding me of the need to offer counseling. I saw the face of Jesus in the alcoholics, reminding me of the need to pray for them. I saw the face of Jesus in the downtrodden, whose rights are denied because of their background. I saw Jesus asking me to speak on their behalf and be an advocate of justice to a world that needs healing. I saw the face of Jesus in the life of the aged who need my pastoral support to help them understand and appreciate life even when things don‟t go their way anymore. After deep meditation, I saw the need again to ask myself „what is love‟ and „what is the essence of love‟? After studying the mechanisms of love and how it effects human relationships and the environ, experts have come to a general consensus that there are three types of love: Eros which is more of a romantic relationship that commonly leads to marriage; Philo, which is a relationship that connects families and has a lot to do with family ties; and Agape. In the Philo kind of relationship, everyone sees him or herself as a beneficiary of the relationship and sometimes if not properly controlled, leads to selfishness and possessiveness. Little children fall under this category and the common language that expresses Philo love is the word “me”. You hear such expressions as „give me my toy‟, „give me my food‟, „give me clothes‟, etc. Adults that refuse to outgrow self-centeredness or the idea of “me,” are commonly referred to as an adult wearing the heart of a child. Most people who remain at this stage usually live with disappointment because of improper expectations and become territorial and controlling. Immediately when what they think is their right or possession is removed they become angry and vengeful. The last category is the Agape love, which happens to be the highest and the most purified form of love which every Christian is called to practice. This pattern of love thinks of the other before itself. It is always willing to sacrifice when needs arise. It does not place any conditions as a step to be activated. It flows as the Spirit leads. It is not restricted or stiffened by any cultural or racial basis, status, profession or age biases. Hence, once rejected, it has no room for regret. People who practice this kind of love are the happiest people in life. The positive energy in them is so high that it can unlock the fullness of life and can turn denial to acceptance within the twinkling of an eye. Where chaos tends to exist, it restores peace. It can also turn a stranger into the best friend you can ever imagine. Agape love is technically the love that Jesus Christ came into the world to preach about and above all to institutionalize as a channel intended to heal our broken world. To bring Agape love to its fullness, Jesus chose to die on the cross, thereby paying the ultimate price of our redemption at Calvary. (“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed”…Isaiah 53:5.) The unconditional love institutionalized by Christ has become a living reality for the entire human race. Every one of us carries the DNA imprint that potentially makes us capable of practicing Agape love, irrespective of who we are. That imprimatur is infused into the very building blocks of our organs through the DNA protein Laminin that is structured in the form of a three strand cross. This has not been theologically proven, but scientifically and philosophically one can confidently without fear of contradiction say that we all carry the mark of the cross which I believe is the true symbol of the price of unconditional love paid by Jesus Himself on the cross of Calvary. This cross-shaped protein is carried every living being that walks on this mother earth, and logically suggests that by the very nature of the „protein cross‟ we all share, we all are children of God created out of His own essence of love. It is a love that was sacrificed on Mount Calvary for our redemption and the love that we are all challenged and inspired to share as a vehicle of grace intended to heal our broken world. Today, as we desire to experience the face of God, we do not need any scientific proof of our DNA because we have stamped in us the Spirit of the living God whose very spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. Our world is created out of God‟s infinite love. In the spirit of that love, He created us in His own image and likeness to be a true reflection of His unconditional love, healing broken lives, families and societies and above all restoring peace in a most profound way. We have been called to be a channel of His unprecedented love, and we can do it from the very moment we let go of our childish egocentric nature and allow maturity of the spirit up to the level of unconditional love take hold of our lives.