In the first reading at Holy Mass today, we read, “It was not because you are the largest of nations that the Lord set His heart on you and chose you…It was because the Lord loved you and because of His fidelity.” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
Why does the Lord love us?
Does He love us for our good looks? For our many achievements and splendid exploits? Does He look at how well we cook, or how well we drive, or how well we play cards, or tennis—did He see all that, from heaven, and then fall in love with us, because we are so charming and wonderful?
Did He see us excelling in virtue, shimmering with perfect honesty and generosity and prudence and a sensible diet—did He see all this from heaven, and then say to Himself, ‘Well, gosh! How lovable these human people are, how can I help myself but love them?’
Well, no. Negative. God does not love us because we are great. God does not love us because we are successful. He does not love us because we are clever, or nice, or athletic, or talented, or generous, or hard-working. We can lay no claim to His love; we do not deserve it; we have not earned it.
Not being great—being pathetic little lumps of clay that sometimes can’t even manage to tie our own shoelaces properly; who often turn left when all the signs clearly read, ‘Danger ahead! Turn right immediately!’ being small-brained, small-hearted, whiny, petulant, little nincompoops—being all this and less, we nonetheless receive the free and all-conquering love of God.
He loves the morally, spiritually, and psychologically bankrupt. And then He makes us beautiful and interesting and worthwhile. He loves the small into greatness. That’s the way He is.
All it takes is looking at a crucifix for one moment to remember that He loves us, and how He loves us.
Why? Why did He become man and die on the Cross for us? Why did He allow His heart to be pierced by the soldier’s lance, so that every last drop of His Precious Blood flowed out?
We hear the answer in the second reading at Mass today: God loves us because God is love (I John 4:8). His love is the origin of all things.