Love should be a 2-way street, going and coming, back and forth.
But when love is one-sided, Unrequited, never gets returned,
it’s one of the most painful things we experience –
Our best theater, opera, literature, how many popular songs?
reflect real-life tragedies, which prove:
No one has the power to make another love them.
It even showed up in “Peanuts,” by Charles Schultz.
His 18,000 strips, close to 50 years of art, contained a lot of Heartbreak.
Schulz never intended to write ‘Peanuts’ for children,
he used kids as a vehicle, it allowed him to use different themes, that would be heavy if an adult said them.
He showed a lot of heartbreak in scenes where Peppermint Patty loves Charlie Brown,
but Charlie Brown loves the Little Red-Haired Girl,
where Sally loves Linus, who loves his teacher, Miss Othmar.
Lucy loves Schroeder, who wants nothing more than to play Beethoven on his toy piano.
These crushes may seem funny and sweet, but in one strip Lucy attacks her rival.
She flings Schroeder’s toy piano into the “kite-eating tree,” which chomps the instrument to dust. Heartbreak is painful, in fiction and in real life both.
Today we celebrate a Feast of God’s love,
a divine love that was strongest on the Cross, when the Sacred Heart was literally torn apart for us, as the soldier’s lance pierced Christ’s side.
A love so strong, that it desires ‘no one may be lost,’
including you and me, ‘no one may be lost.’
But it also is a love that is unreturned.
As He said to St Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Apostle of the Sacred Heart,”
“Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it spared nothing,
even to exhausting and consuming itself,
in order to testify to that love;
and in return, I receive from the greater part, only ingratitude.”
He points to his Sacred Heart, surrounded by thorns, pierced with a sword, consumed with fire. His plea is for Love, because all that He has done, all his redemptive work …
becoming human … his Passion and suffering … dying on the cross … all the Love that He has offered us time and again,
could be in vain unless we return His Love.
Sometimes we imagine Christ didn’t really suffer like we do; that he possessed some Divine advantage that made his suffering different, somehow less painful.
On the contrary, that’s precisely what makes God’s love so great:
While we were still sinners, He took the initiative,
He became human, like us in all things, except sin.
He labored and loved, sweat and bled, He suffered.
“By his wounds we have been healed.”
But there was the risk.
Even the almighty King of the Universe has no power to make us love Him in return.
As he passed through a village on his way to Jerusalem, someone asked Jesus,
“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
Just that thought probably broke his heart, His merciful heart which longed that everyone be saved. It pained Him to think that His Love and Mercy might not be accepted,
might not be received.
In the Temple, Jesus cried out in grief:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers!
How often I’ve wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”
Closer to His Last Supper, Jesus wept over Jerusalem, because of their defiant ignorance: “If only you had known the things that make for your peace!
The day will come when your enemies will surround you,
hem you in on every side, tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you,
not leaving one stone upon another, because you did not accept the time of your visitation.”
His grief and tears, because, although Humans can offer love, God can offer love …
… You can’t force anyone to Love you!
Yet Jesus never gave up.
Even on the Cross, as the Romans were putting him to death,
as His own people were mocking Him…
when you and I would have cried out for vengeance,
His Heart was moved with a pity that comes from genuine love.
In His last plea, Jesus cried out for mercy and forgiveness.
“Who is there who would not love this wounded heart?” St Francis of Assisi asked.
“Who would not love in return Him, who loves us so much?”
That’s the risk. Christ knowingly took it.
Knowing that not even God almighty has the power to make us love Him in return.
Of all possible Feasts, today should be the day we specially return His love.