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Friends, today in the Gospel, Jesus delineates the nature of his mission: “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

In his passion to set right a disjointed universe, God broke open his own heart in love. The Father sent not simply a representative but his own Son into the dysfunction of the world, so that he might gather that world into the bliss of the divine life. God’s center—the love between the Father and the Son—is now offered as our center; God’s heart breaks open so as to include even the worst and most hopeless among us.

In so many spiritual traditions, the emphasis is placed on the human quest for God. But this is reversed in Christianity. Christians do not believe that God is dumbly “out there,” like a mountain waiting to be climbed by various religious searchers. On the contrary, God, like the hound of heaven in Francis Thompson’s poem, comes relentlessly searching after us.

Because of this questing and self-emptying divine love, we become friends of God, sharers in the communion of the Trinity.