Nothing can separate us from Christ
The second reading this weekend offers us a reflection regarding our union with Christ. Saint Paul begins this passage with a question: “What will separate us from the love of Christ?” When I was younger, I heard this phrase as a powerful statement of our commitment to Jesus. Yet the longer we live and the more experience we have, we start to understand why Paul asks his rhetorical question. The reason for that question seems very simple, both in Paul’s time and in our time: it is the number of people who are separated from Christ for different reasons, some because they are upset with Jesus, or because they do not see the hand of God working in this world; others because their prayers have not been answered; still others due to the suffering they endure.
There are many reasons for a breakup or separation of any relationship, but not for the rapport we have with Jesus. The basis of this union is not Jesus himself but the “Love of God manifested in Jesus.” Paul’s conviction goes beyond the things we normally see or experience, the first group is referring to all of the physical or spiritual suffering here on earth: “distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword”. And he affirms that the way to overcome these problems is with Jesus; it is He who gives us the strength that we need to pass through all of those trials.
In a second group, however, Saint Paul presents those realities that in one way or another mark each of us: death, life, present, future, angels… all things that are more powerful than we are, but the final statement is that the Love of God is more powerful than all of them. The Love of God, manifested in Jesus, has conquered death, giving us a new life. Through him, this present life makes sense and the promise of a future life gives us courage in moments of tribulation.
When we look at Christ, normally we see our Savior, our Redeemer. Well… the Apostle proposes to us that we see in the Lord Jesus the manifestation of God’s Love: not a person who loves us, but the very act of love. The reason for this is that Paul is so determined to affirm that nothing can separate us from Him, because He, the Christ, is the very manifestation of the immense love that God has for each of us.