A conventional piece of Christian wisdom tells us to “love what Jesus loved when he was on the cross, and despise what Jesus despised when he was on the cross.” We get that same message from Moses today in the first reading. He tells the Israelites that the high and mighty God loves the widow, the orphan, and the alien, and because of that, they too must love the widow, the orphan, and the alien. That is actually a common theme of all of the prophets.
In our day, loving what Jesus loved when he was on the cross might mean reaching out to those in need: the poor, the hungry, the homeless, those oppressed in any way. It might mean binding up wounds: old hurts, casual slights, or pervasive anger. It means forgiving as we have been forgiven, loving the person but hating the sin. We are called upon to extend ourselves and to go beyond our own pettiness to love sacrificially. We might not be nailed to a cross, but we may well have to die to our own interests and needs in order to love as Jesus calls us.
What do we have that is not God’s gift to us? The Psalmist says today: “He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat he fills you.” We benefit eternally from the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. As we remember the grace we have been given in celebrating the Eucharist today, let it be our prayer that we would come to love as he has loved, no matter what the cost.