Any grade four child when asked – What is the center of the solar system? – will give you an answer, the sun. The sun is the center or our solar system. But what is the center of the cosmos? We know that our solar system is just part of a bigger cosmos. What is the center? Where can you find the center of the universe? The answer can be – everywhere because philosophers say, there really is no center for the cosmos. The center of the cosmos can be any person. The center of the cosmos can be any city. The center of the cosmos can be anywhere. The cosmos has no center. And being assured that there is really no center, our parents may raise us and tell us, “You are the love of my life.” Our parents may raise us and tell us, “You are my wished-for child.” Our parents may raise us and tell us, “You are the center of my universe.” And we come to believe in these.
An admirer sings this serenade to you – You are the love of my life. You give me reason to live. This will further convince me of how much of a bigger person I am and that I am the center of the universe. Is that okay? It’s okay. Because when all of us were born, we were brought up cultivated with the belief that we are at the center. This is because when we were born, just a little cry would send your mother running to you. Even during unreasonable hours, even when exhausted, even while doing the laundry, when she hears your cry, she will run to you, to check on you and stop your crying. She will check your diaper, check your milk bottle, check your bed. Might there be bed bugs, mosquitos, or cockroaches? Nothing can touch my precious baby because this is the love of my life.
As time passes and a new baby arrives, you will realize that – “I am no longer the one and only love because when the new baby came, their love shifted to him. As for me, I’m close to losing my voice because of crying, but nobody is minding me. Why did it come to this? ” This will make us think and lead us to believe, “Maybe, I am really not the love of their life. I am worthless. I am not lovable. I have to prove to be lovable. I have to prove to be worthy. I have to prove to be deserving. I have to prove to be honorable. I have to achieve. I have to be champion. I have to run. I have to train. Why? So that I can gain back all their attention. But allow me to turn back. There is no truth to that. Because we are all important. Where does our importance come from? From the reality that I am an image of God. I am an image of God, created in His likeness, and that is where my importance comes from. In the Gospel, the devil brought forth the temptation of worthlessness. What happened right before the Lord went to the wilderness to fast? He was baptized in the Jordan (river). At a voice was heard, “This is my beloved son. This is the love of my life. This is the joy of my soul, in whom my favor rests. This is my favorite!” He heard that and then what happened? He was hungry for forty (40) days having eaten nothing.
How did the devil tempt the Lord?
First temptation. He called you “Love of my life”, you are his favorite ? How come you are starving? Is that how a favorite is treated, you go hungry? Is that how a favorite is treated, you’re running on an empty stomach? If you are really the favorite, then you should be well fed. If you are really the favorite, then you should be well taken care of. To the favorite, everything is given. To the favorite, all favors rest. How come with you and everything that you need, nothing has been given? But still you believe? The first temptation was the temptation to believe God really loves you. Does God really love me? If God really loves me, why is my stomach empty? If God really loves me, why do I not have food? If God really loves me, why am I living in emptiness? And the Lord answered and said, “God loves me in emptiness or in fullness. God loves me in food or in hunger. Because the love of God for me does not depend on the emptiness of my stomach or the fullness of my stomach. I am loved.”
Second temptation– it is still the temptation of being worthless. The devil tempted the Lord and said, “You are the beloved son”, God said in Jordan. You are the beloved son – are you sure? You are the beloved son, why are you nobody? Nobody is minding you, nobody cares. You keep on praying. Are you getting any answers? You keep on talking to Him. Is he responding back? You are a big fat nobody. You are not loved. And the Lord’s answer to the devil is, “I am love because my worth does not depend on what other people say. My worth does not depend on jail or freedom. My worth depends on – God loves me and I carry His image in my soul.”
And the third temptation was – If you are really loved, then why are you so ordinary? If you are loved, shouldn’t you be a VIP? Then how come you’re so ordinary? If you are truly loved then how come you don’t have an elevator to bring you to the top of the mountain? If you are really loved, then why are you just riding the bus, where is your Mercedes Benz? If you are really loved, where is the VIP treatment that you deserve?
And the Lord rebutted again and said, “I am loved. I can ride the bus. I can be ordinary and in my ordinary-ness, God loves me.”
My dear brothers and sisters, there is the covid pandemic but there is the covid pandemic of worthlessless. Am I really loved? If I am truly loved, why is that no one is minding me? If I am truly loved, why is that no one is feeding me? If I am truly loved, then why does it seem that nobody cares? If I am truly loved, then why are there VIPs and I am just ordinary? Why are things this way? And in this pandemic of worthlessness, people have killed themselves and said, “Maybe, when I am dead, then that is when people will start caring about me.”
Brothers and sisters, suicide does not answer worthlessness. Killing yourself does not answer worthlessness. The answer to worthlessness is when you are asked, Are you truly loved? It is most certain.
How can you be sure? Your answer – I just know and that’s enough. I am most certain that God loves me. I may be ordinary. I am not a VIP. I am a big fat nobody. I am starving. I have no money, no riches but I am created in the likeness of God. And that is enough.
Does God really love you? Yes. Prove it? I just know because He created me in His likeness. And there’s no bigger blessing, no bigger love that can surpass that. I was created in His image and likeness.