The reading today from Jeremiah presents the wonderful vision of a world in which God’s people have hearts so aligned with God’s heart that God’s instructive lessons have been “interiorized.” God will be known by the intimate knowledge of complete reconciliation that is foreshadowed by Psalm 51.
The passage from Psalm 119 displays the delight of one who has comprehended the beauty of God’s laws. Christians sometimes mistakenly contrast God’s laws with His Grace, and thereby force a false choice between a God of justice and a God of love. The Bible, however, reveals God’s character to be one in which justice and love are never separated. The divine principles are inherently loving and lead to a community in which God’s creation and the humans in it flourish.
Today’s Gospel reading from John shows Jesus embodying God’s principles of love. As Jesus explains, God has structured the world such that (a) giving up what we’ve been given brings abundance, (b) giving one’s life for a loving purpose brings true life, and (c) grasping and clinging to our naturally self-centered life causes us to lose it. These principles surprise us. They run contrary to a human nature that doesn’t want to sacrifice or let go. Even Jesus says “my soul is troubled” in the face of his ultimate sacrifice. Even so, he will act in accordance with the Father’s will to the very end. As the reading from Hebrews describes, his demonstration of true life makes salvation possible. In the love and obedience shown perfectly in the life and death of Christ, God and humans are reconciled.