This past week I was visiting one of the freshmen classes at the high school I serve at as chaplain. After giving them my vocation story, I asked if they had any questions. Silence. I told them that if they didn’t have any questions they would have to take the quiz their teacher had planned. Silence. Seriously, no questions? Silence. Finally, I asked, “You don’t even want to know my favorite band?” (I was grasping for anything to get the ball rolling).
At that prompt, the inquiries started flowing in. Questions about everything from my most embarrassing moment to who is my favorite college team. Eventually, I received a question that I had never been posed before: What is the greatest question I can think of?
The greatest question I could think of that day: Why does God love us so much?
I explained that God plus us is not greater than God alone. We add nothing to God’s greatness. God doesn’t need us. Yet, God loves us. In fact, God loves us with an unparalleled love.
To emphasize my point, I referenced the Crucifix on the wall. I asked them to think about why a God who doesn’t need us would become like us in every way but sin and endure that for us. Why would God go on a deadly rescue mission for us when only we could benefit?
Rev. T. Frank Kennedy, chair of the committee on Christian Art, wrote (in part): “I suppose a question might be posed to Boston College as to what purpose this Christian Art serves? In a world that is pretty successfully driven by media (imagery) ours is a response that seeks to pose the age-old invitation of Christ to enter into love – a love that is made perfect in its unselfishness. John Paul II spoke of the crucifix on September 15, 2002 saying ‘It is the sign of God, who has compassion on us, who accepts human weakness, who opens to us all, to one another, and therefore creates the relation of fraternity.’ The Pope also went on to say that though this symbol has been abused in history, it is the Christian’s duty to reclaim that symbol as an invitation to love. An invitation to love, and an invitation to faith is exactly that, an invitation. One is not required to respond, one can decline, and one can have many reasons for declining the invitation, but to imply that a Jesuit and Catholic university is not free to offer this invitation is simply an impossibility.”
Another good question remains: Why do we run from the invitation to love?