Here’s a lesson from my first-ever attempt at knotting a bow-tie:
It helps a LOT…
if you start with enough CRAVAT.
After forty-five minutes of wrestling with Borrowed Tie #1 (my top choice for both fabric and hue), this was the best knot I could manage:
In fact, I was just about to give up on the quixotic quest. I figured if I’d made it 61 years without ever having to conquer such a contraption, I could certainly live out my life – and skate through any current or future bow-tie opportunities – with pre-knotted or clip-on varieties.
But on a lark, I decided to give Borrowed Tie #2 a shot. Five minutes later, this was the result:
Certainly passable, IMHO. Perhaps even a tad dapper. And the big difference: I had more fabric to work with. Not a lot more: maybe two inches, at most. But it turned out to be an essential margin…the difference between success and failure.
In other words, it helps a LOT…if you start with enough CRAVAT.
Now, apply this simple principle in the context of the scripture we’ll hear at Mass on Sunday. The Evangelist John manages to make his primary point in just three words:
“God is love.”
It’s a remarkable insight into God’s nature. Profound. Mysterious. Almost impenetrable, if we’re being completely honest: How can it be…when one considers the vastness of the cosmos…the immensity of history…that God manages to love an insignificant speck such as me?
Yet that’s the truth of the matter. John heard it from the lips of Jesus himself. And so he passes this truth along, in abundance. You might say John even gets all tied up in the idea: In the space of about 285 words – between the second reading, the alleluia verse, and the gospel passage – John mentions “love” (or a variant of it) a whopping 21 times.
He says “love” so often that we probably stop hearing it by the end.
We need to ward off that all-too-human impulse, it seems to me. We can benefit from abiding in this abundance of love.
We really ought to sit with it.
Soak it in.
Let God’s “love-times-21” wash over us.
It seems too good to be true. But the Evangelist wants to assure us, it’s knot.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.