The Face of God

Matthew 22:34-40

The very last line of the broadway show Les Miserables and probably the most famous of the show, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” It is after great transformation and conversion and the act of forgiveness that as the main character approaches death, he can finally see the face of God in the other. That idea is at the heart of who we are as Christians but for other faiths as well; those of the Jewish faith, Hindu, Islam, and for other faiths around the world, it comes down to this very teaching of Jesus today…love God and love of neighbor as yourself. And yet, it’s so hard. We have so many examples of love that just goes wrong…we fall in love and fall out of love, we experience broken relationships, some face divorce, others abuse. Yet, the command of Jesus is still there and he will show a more perfect love and what he tries to teach in this passage is that these 2 commandments don’t stand alone but are really two sides of the same coin; that to see the face of God one must love neighbor. We have heard things build to this point in the gospel the past few weeks…love enemies, forgive not seven times but seventy times seven times, love those who hurt us. It too will reach its climax in a few chapters when we hear the separation of the sheep and goats. At that point it won’t come down to the following of more than 600 laws that were expected of them, but it comes down to our ability to love and to serve our neighbor and through that, we see the face of God. But it’s still hard and requires something else from us if we are to love in this more perfect way. As the first commandment tells us here, love of God. We have to commit ourselves to God, and not just priests, but all of us who are his disciples. We have a tendency to over-commit in so many different directions and so many others vie for our attention and we get impatient, and angry, and resentful, and all this stuff; but if we put God first and commit to God, the rest falls into place and even when we do find ourselves suffering, that commitment to God gives us meaning. But there is that too…suffering and sacrifice. It is a part of our relationships and sacrifice is necessary; we see that in the love that Jesus shows us through his death on the cross. We too quickly want to give up when things don’t go our way or we get bored or we’re tired of things. Granted, there are times when we have to get out of relationships because they are unhealthy for us. But most of the time it is an invitation to sit with the suffering and these sacrifices and learn what God wants us to learn from them. It is hard but it is the way of love and it is only when we can begin to love and serve neighbor that we can ever, ever begin to love and begin to see see the face of God in what we celebrate here on this table in this Eucharist.

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2 thoughts on “The Face of God

  1. What a great post, I missed your sermon today because of childrens lit. Thanks for sharing it here!

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