HE FIRST LOVED ME
Kathy Bernard - Publisher
anyone who does not love does not know God,
for God is love."
1 John 4:8
stood up, walked to the podium and looked out at the parishioners
waiting expectantly for the homily. He paused for a moment, then
introduced a guest who sat in the front pew. After reading the
gospel, he told the church
that in lieu of his usual sermon he wanted one of his dearest
friends to come forward and share a unique and special story which
would exemplify that Sunday's gospel.
rose and made his way up the steps to the altar and began to tell
the following story: "A father, his son, and a friend of his son
were sailing off the Pacific Coast when a fast
approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The
waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced
sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept
into the ocean as the boat capsized."
speaker stood there, making eye contact with two teenagers who, for
the first time since mass began, looked somewhat interested in the
story but embarrassed by the man's tears and the unusual turn of
events. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to
make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy would
throw the other end of the life line? Oh my God which one?"
only had only seconds to make a decision. The father knew that his son believed
in Jesus and was a good and faithful Catholic Christian, but he also
knew that his son's friend did not believe in God. The agony of his
decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves. As the
father yelled out, 'I love you, son!', he threw out the lifeline to
the son's friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back
to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging
swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."
this time, the two young boys were sitting up straight in the pew,
straining to hear his next words. "The father," the man continued,
"knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not
bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity
without Christ. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the friend."
With that, the man turned and sat down as heavy silence filled
priest seemed deep in thought as he walked up to the podium and said, "No
homily I can offer can match this story of Christian love except what St. John who
wrote in John 3: 16 which tells, "For
God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life." With these words
the priest resumed his seat.
the mass, the two teenagers pressed through the crowd to reach
the guest speaker's side saying, "That was a nice story," one of the boys
said politely, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father
to give up his son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a
you've got a
point there," the man replied, glancing down at his hands. Again, sorrow began to overtake the man's smiling face as he looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic,
is it? But I'm here today to tell you that I understand more than
most the pain God must have felt to give up His only Son. For you
see, I'm the man who lost his son to the ocean that day, and my
son's friend that I chose to save is your priest."
absolute is the love our heavenly Father has poured out on us flawed
of His love has no beginning and has no end. It is unwavering and
eternal, immeasurable and complete.
Though we are unworthy of the
supreme gift of His Son, yet God gave.... because He first loved you
and you and me.
greatest gift God gives is Himself. The greatest return
we can give God is ourselves.
reflect on God's love, we can understand that it is so precious and
priceless no one, in spite of great wealth, can buy it.
Mark 8:34 Jesus tells us, "And when He had called the people unto
Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come
after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow
you are someone who has not yet opened your heart to the Lord Jesus
Christ I urge you to do so. His offering is free and
no Christmas gift, no matter how expensive can compare, for it is
wrapped in everlasting love and salvation direct from God, our
Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ Who only asks that you take
it, cherish it, share it and live it. No earthly being, no matter
how good, can offer this; only the Father and the Son. Do not be
the one who turns away.
the Lord be
with you during this blessed time as we commemorate the birth of the
Savior Who is our hope for eternal life.
us therefore love God, because God first loved us"
1 John 4:19
Read a priest's poignant story with a song video here. The song has
a slow start so be patient:
Living Monstrance » Because He First Loved Me
use the link at the top left side of this page
to comment or be added to the mailing list.