THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
"The things that we love tell us what we are."
Love is a language we speak to express our intent and desires in relationships: being divine or human.
Love is an indispensable bridge that connect nature: either divine or human.
Love is an expression that crosses every barrier, color, race, tribe, gender, etc that everyone understands.
Love is a key that opens doors to discover our destiny, purpose and mission in our terrestrial existence.
Nonetheless, has our modern world advanced the very essence of Love in it rightful direction? I think it has been twisted to salute the transgressions and the deceit of our corrupt and filtering away society. This is because the very core values and the prospects of Love has not only been shamefully compromised but also abysmally adulterated!
In our contemporary world today:
People claim to love, yet they slander and kill others.
People claim to love, yet they hurt, deceive and betray trust and confidence of others.
People claim to love, yet they unjustly mistreat and abuse others.
People claim to love, yet they cheat and are corrupt to others.
People claim to love, yet they disrespect and disparage others.
People claim to love, yet they refuse to care and pay attention to the feelings, the the needs and the plight of others.
People claim to love, yet they refuse to acknowledge the presence of God and their fellow human being in their lives.
Is this what they call LOVE? If not, then what is it? Love has now become only a feeling and just a word where they use without attaching importance to it; as if it is just like a passing away wind. But actually, Love is an action and a practice of what we truly are. Unfortunately, if human beings grow to become indifferent to religion and morality; this is the result!
Hence, our readings today aim at calling humanity especially us, Christians, to reconsider our responsible obligations to Love. To Love God and to love our neighbor is not a choice but a right and a must to do, per our vocation.
In the first reading after God liberated the Hebrews from Egypt and were in mount Sinai he expressed His desire to enter into a covenant with them. He made the terms of this covenant with them, of which they agreed. The Ten Commandments was the core of the covenantal terms. In this He demanded from them a social conduct of compassionate love for others. To love the underprivileged fellow human beings, the poor, widows, orphans, etc as God had done to them when in slavery. So it should be both social and religious ethics to love and be compassionate on others; because to love God is to love your neighbor. As Christians, let us understand that to love our neighbor is to honor the image of God and to do this is to honor God Himself. To love our neighbor is to practically to respect the creation of God and to prove our love of God. Loving our neighbor is not only obeying the commandments but actually summarizing them into action.
That is why the Psalmist clearly states that to love God is to manifest who He is to us: our rock, fortress, deliverer, strength, horn of salvation, stronghold, savior, etc. So if we love our neighbor this is what we give them.
Apostle Paul, in the second reading praises the Thessalonian Christians for being models of the Faith to others. Their enthusiastic mutual love for one another was not only an example but also contagious to others including pagans. Their love for themselves in following the commands of Christ was great and amazing. In the same way we also have the obligation to be models of love by proving our love of God in our challenging world and also showing in practical sense this love to our neighbor in this pandemic period.
In conclusion, Jesus Christ in the gospel reading, in answering the Pharisee, put the Ten Commandments in summation: Love of God and Love of neighbor. Hence to paraphrase the C.C.C.#2083 & 2196 Love of God means dedication of the whole person to His will, putting Him first in your mind and heart, speaking respectfully of Him, honoring Him, etc. Loving your neighbor means treating people with respect, respecting them, their relationships, reputations and properties. Acknowledgement of their inviolable human right, seeing them as part of yourself.
Indeed, let our love be for God but not for the world. We are for God but not for the world. God can save us but the world can squander us. The world is transient but God is permanent and eternal. The world has a destruction but God has a destination to eternal life for us. Your duty is to LOVE God and LOVE your neighbor; leave the rest to Him!
Faith over fear... Keep the Faith... Love is contagious. See you in Church.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CONFIRMANDI.
YOU ARE INDEED GALLANT SOLDIERS OF THE FAITH IN THIS CHALLENGING PANDEMIC!
TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR IS TO LOVE GOD...
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.