God loves you. This is a fact that we may know in our minds, but how often does it sink into our hearts? Rarely. We hear the words God loves us, and even though it is a free, undeserved gift, we immediately equate His love to conditional love. Our minds know that we do not need to earn the love of God, but the heart refuses to believe this. Why is this? Our transactional consumerist society has taught us that nothing is gained without a price. If I am to receive something from you, I must first give you something in return, or prove that I am worthy of the thing being received. 

We often treat our faith the same. We are taught that God loves us, but because of a possible over emphasis on moralizing the faith, we convince ourselves that to receive the love of God we must first earn it by being a good person. Thus, many of us view our judgment day as turning in our good works resume’ to God. We may think that if our good works balance out our sins, or we are better than 50% of those around us, heaven is ours. We assure ourselves, “Well I haven’t murdered anyone” or done anything that bad, so an all-loving God would not send me to Hell. In this process of thinking, we do not believe we deserve heaven unless we earn it by our good works and avoiding bad works. 

Yet, this is the lie of satan. Nothing you can do can earn you heaven, and God our Father knows this. Our sin has earned us eternal separation from God, but God desires to be with us forever. God desires for YOU to be with Him forever. That is why He sent His Son to redeem us. Jesus came and lived the life that we were meant to live, in complete love and obedience to the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave glory to the Father with His entire being, and thus the Father glorified Jesus and gave Him new life after being unjustly crucified. 

Jesus is the only one who justly deserves eternal life through His life of love. Yet, He extends His heavenly inheritance to each of us. He extends it to you! Jesus’ death was one of ransom. It serves as just expiation of our sins. Jesus crucified is the reason why we can claim sinlessness again. The door to heaven has been opened to us. Not because we did anything, but only because Jesus loved us. 

Jesus has been given life. He is raised from the dead! Divine Justice demands that if someone who lives in love without sin dies, they must be given life. None of us can claim this except Jesus. Yet, Jesus in turn uses Divine Justice given to Him and extends Divine Mercy to us. He enables us to enter into His life so that we can receive His reward of eternal life. Jesus gives us His Spirit and His Body the Church. He gives us His presence and healing. He gives us His perfection and life. 

It is all a gift. We just have to receive it. No transaction, just reception. Jesus has definitively beaten Satan and the powers of death. Satan’s only tactic that can steal us away from God is distraction. As was the case with Adam and Eve up until this moment in time, Satan uses worldly desires to help us forget the love of God and life that He offers us. 

How do we avoid the distractions and receive the gift of life from God? By entering into the Body of Christ (Jesus’ Church) and living a life in the Holy Spirit. We are to go to Jesus in the sacraments. We are to go to Jesus in His Word the Bible. We are to go to the poor and serve Jesus in your brothers and sisters. And we are to do it all as one people whose concern is to love God and receive His gift of life. 

This is an invitation for you. The Catholic Church is a community that is the transformative love of Jesus and would love for you to join His mission. This culture is full of violence, depression, hatred, malice, envy, and injustice. Save yourself from this corrupt generation (Acts 2:40). As Peter, our first pope, exhorted those in his Pentecost sermon, the message still rings true today.  Jesus invites you, Come all you who are labored and burdened and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Come experience the love for which God has created you. Enter into the love of the Father, the body of Jesus, and the life of the Spirit. God is alive. He loves you. All you have to do is come and see (John 1:39).