Good people I want you to hear again the words of our second reading:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or the sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am certain of this that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, depths, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul knew it was by God’s grace that he was what he was: an apostle, an apostle sent by Christ to bring the message of the reality of God’s love for all whether they be Jews or Gentiles. Neither the trials and struggles of founding communities of faith nor the hostility of his own people, nor the reality of his own weaknesses could turn Paul away from his life project, preaching Christ crucified, a scandal to the Jews and foolish to the Greeks.
Paul was certain of this, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depths, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, made visible in the crucified Christ. Paul’s message is clear; nothing in existence can separate you and me from the great love God has for each of us.
Often we get things mixed up. We imagine living our Christian faith is all about us doing something God would like. Not so. Our Christian faith is about being open to what God does for and in us and letting God’s love transform our lives. As St John reminds us, “this is the wonder, not our love for God but God’s love for us when he sent his son into the world for us.” Nothing can come between us and that love God has for us. In the face of all our faults and sin, our unkept promises we trust the words of the psalmist: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. The Lord is just in all his ways and holy in all his deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.”
The truth of the matter is none of us have our act together. God’s love for us is constant; our love for God can be quite fickle, we run hot and cold. As St Paul so realistically said, “The good that I would that I do not, and the evil I would not do, that I do, who will deliver me.” Someone wisely wrote: “Living with the complexities of human life isn’t easy. We aren’t necessarily over-greedy, over-sexed or over-restless, we are just normal human beings walking around inside human skin. Scripture is filled with stories of people finding God and helping to bring about God’s kingdom even as their own lives are fraught with mess, confusion, frustration, betrayal, infidelity and sin.
The same can be true in all our lives. God works in the good we do and God works in our struggles and the failures. There may be times when we say to God, “I don’t know what you see in me, why do you bother with me.” God sees in every one of us a loved son or daughter. God’s love and care for each of us, as we are right here, right now is like a tsunami that sweeps us up in love. Nothing can separate us from the force of that tsunami.