By: Rev. Brian O. McDermott, S.J., Dr. Theol., Special Assistant to the President, Georgetown University
Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017
During his life on earth Jesus lived in total dependence on God the Father and on the Holy Spirit. He also learned how to be an authentic human being (marked by healthily self-emptying love) from the other human beings who loved him unconditionally, such as Mary and Joseph.
On the cross, his self-emptying love reached its climax. God the Father did not will Jesus’ crucifixion; human beings willed that, sinning against innocent life. God the Father asked Jesus to love to the end, with self-giving, self-emptying love, in imitation of the Father’s love. In dying, Jesus entrusted himself completely to the Father; he held nothing back.
In this vein, Cynthia Bourgeault writes:
The method of full, voluntary self-donation reconnects you instantly to the wellspring; in fact, it is the wellspring. The most daring gamble of Jesus’ trajectory of pure love may just be to show us that self-emptying is not the means to something else; the act is itself the full expression of its meaning and instantly brings into being “a new creation”: the integral wholeness of Love manifested in the particularity of a human heart.
The completeness of Jesus’ transformation, rooted in his complete self-emptying, is signed forth by the empty tomb, an empty space which has meaning only because of the fullness of life and presence which is the Risen Jesus.
In self-emptying love God is present and available for encounter with us. Self-emptying love is the fullest way we human beings can be present and available for encounter. Now Jesus’ presence to the cosmos and to all and each human being is unrestricted. The self-emptying love continues, lavished on the world and yearning for response.