“The Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger rich in kindness and faithfulness.” (Ex. 34: 6) These are the words with which God describes himself when Moses encounters him on Mount Sinai in today’s first reading, and they are the ways in which he does so several times after this in the Old Testament.  The people of Israel had a word with which they used to describe God, to sum this up: CHESED.  In this one word they expressed their belief in God’s tenderness, compassion, kindness, faithfulness and every other expression of love that you could possibly imagine.  God is Chesed love, all encompassing, unconditional, truly beautiful love.


This love is what we celebrate every moment of our lives and, in particular, when we pray and celebrate the Sacraments.  The love of God – the love which is God and the God who is love – is placed at the centre of who we are, not just in our consciousness, but through his overflowing generosity.  This love is the heart of what we called the Gospel message.  As you’ve heard me say time and time again before:


  • God is love
  • As love, he created us so that he could share that love with us – as love has to be shared for it to be love – and that we might share it with him in return
  • We rejected that love as we chose to go our own way in our sinfulness, loving ourselves more than another
  • God, as love, reaches out the hand of friendship to us, in love, as he becomes human in the person of Jesus
  • Jesus’ death on the Cross is the supreme act of love as he takes our condemnation and punishment upon himself
  • His Resurrection defeats that condemnation and punishment once and for all as it promises us eternal life
  • The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to each of us, as they choose to dwell within each member of the Church, to enable us to walk the path of faith more and more each day…because God loves us


Today’s Gospel sums this up when it gives us those profound words: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life” (John 3: 16).  This Gospel message, this Chesed love, is embodied in the person of Jesus, God made man, and shared with us in the power of their Spirit dwelling within us.

And St Paul wants to help us tap into that love and power when he writes in today’s second reading,we wish you happiness”. The happiness that he is speaking of comes from knowing the presence of this great love who is God in our lives, in our hearts, in our spirits.  This presence will help us to ‘grow’ to the perfection he speaks of, and that word that he uses is especially important.  We ‘grow’, we’re not suddenly perfect.  How do we grow?  We grow more and more, bit by bit, sometimes slowly, sometimes at a faster pace, as the Holy Spirit enables us to “help one another, be united, live in peace…(and)greet one another with the holy kiss” (2. Cor. 13: 11)


And so we pray today, that the Most Holy Trinity bless each of us abundantly with his his chesed love, and enable us to grow more and more, as “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” IS with us all.