The beginning of this song always chokes me up:
"Though we're strangers, still I love you/I love you more than your mask/And you know you have to trust this to be true/And I know that's much to ask/But lay down your fears, come and join this feast"
The world seeks to reduce us in so many ways, to our wealth or poverty, our education, or lack of it, our race, nationality, the power we have, or lack, our success, or our failure, our sexuality, our thinness, or thickness, our fitness, or illness, etc., etc., etc. It is safe to say that the world sets about reducing us every day in nearly every way, that's just reality, the "real world" our Dads warned us about. The Good News is, we need not reduce reality to our measure, but engage it according to the totality of all the factors that constitute it. When we perceive and engage reality in its totality, we experience that it is something positive and is on our side because Christ is on our side. At least for me, this is the great witness of St. Paul.
Christ gives us the strength to resist these many reductions by not caring about them one whit. You are beautiful to Him who knows everything about you, including those things you hate about yourself, and loves you, not despite all that, but because your weakness activates His tenderness, your need draws Him like a magnet. To Him your wounds are what make you beautiful, lovable, which is why He answered Paul, who inquired as to why he was afflicted in an unnamed way, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9), just as His wounds, as we will see again this Sunday, are His most lovely and lovable feature.
He also loves you too much not to confront you with and provoke you concerning what needs to change, but neither does he deprive you of His indispensable assistance, which we call grace, given you in an irreplaceable way in the Holy Eucharist and also in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, "where he waits for us," as then-Cardinal Ratzinger observed in Stations of the Cross he composed back in 2005, "ready to raise us up whenever we fall!"