Gaga or God?
Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Preached on May 2, 2010 at Holy Spirit Parish/The Newman Center at the University of Kentucky, Lexington KY
Readings: Acts 14:21-27; Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13; Revelation 21:1-5a; John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Bad Romance is not just a song by Lady Gaga; it is also what a lot of people have in their lives. Instead of fairy tale happily-ever-afters, people end up writing a bad romance, with all the ugly, the disease, the drama. It is sad but it is true. So, it is no wonder that some get disillusioned about love. Others get wary of any hint of commitment. A few give up altogether. The rest just dance with abandon to the blasting Gaga-ooh-la-la’s techno beat to forget.
But this situation begs us to ask the question: Why are there so many lonely people in the world?
I think it is because most just settle for something less than love: a hook-up, a fling, a one-night stand, a bad romance. But to all these, the cross of Christ firmly stands to remind us all that we deserve nothing less than a love that does not hold anything back. It is Christ who did not hold back His Body and His Soul, His Blood and His Life, His humanity and His divinity, His everything, and we see the evidence of this boundless love in His Passion and in His Death on the cross. This is what Jesus meant when He said: “As I have loved you” (Jn. 13:34). And whenever we settle for anything less than that kind of love that does not hold anything back, we end up being cheated of what we deserve.
But not only is this the kind of love that we deserve; it is also the sort of love that we are called to give. The one new commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples was to love one another. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn. 13:34). If we give anything less than a love that does not hold anything back, we’re shortchanging someone. And that is not fair to them. It is not fair to us who call ourselves Christians and do not act, or give, or love as Christ does. It is not fair to Christ who taught and showed us the length and breadth and height and depth of what true love really looks like.
A bad romance is not our destiny, nor should it be our goal. In fact, the Book of Revelation speaks of us, the Church, as a new Jerusalem, prepared and adorned as a bride betrothed to a God who will wipe every tear from our eyes (Jn. 21:2, 4), a God whose love will ensure that in the end “there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain” (Jn. 21:4), ugly, disease, or drama.
A bad romance involves a psycho, vertigo, and something about a rear window. (What Lady Gaga meant by those lyrics only she knows!) The love that God has in store—well, let us just say—is out of this world.
Which one will you choose?
Now, be careful when you take your pick; your happiness—here and hereafter—depends on it.