25 OCTOBER 2020: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
SHARING THE LIVING WORD
by FR. Anthony, Parochial Vicar
“What we can do by following Jesus’ command: to Love”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
There is an immortal song written by an English poet, Leigh Hunt, about a man called Abou Ben Adhem. Abou woke up from his sleep one night and saw in his room an angel writing in a book of gold the names of those who love God. Is my name one of those in your book? inquired Abou. No, Not so, replied the angel. I pray you then, said Abou, write me as one who loves God’s fellow men. The following night the angel came again and displayed the names of those who love God, and Abou Ben Adhem’s name topped the list.
This story makes the point that true love of God and true love of our fellow human beings are like two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist apart from the other. That is what we find in today’s Gospel. Love God and love your neighbor. These are the two commandments which Jesus called the foundation of His disciples lives. We don’t have to know what the Pharisees and Sadducees multiplied the ten commandments in to 613 laws. All you have to do is love God, and demonstrate that love by loving your fellow human persons.
Pope Benedict has said that the Church has three basic jobs and they are: to care for the poor, to evangelize and to worship the true God. These three are on clear display in our three readings of today.
Ist Reading: Exodus 22:20-26. God’s covenant with Israel says “God has saved you in His everlasting love. Therefore, you must hold Him above every other object and show love and concern for his people.” They are duty bound to work for the poor, to work for the weak, to work for the oppressed.
2nd reading: Thessalonians 1: 5-10. “As they were in the service of the living and true God, the community of the Thessalonians give testimony to the reign of God.” And they took care of everyone in their community and praised and thanked God.
And we find Jesus himself saying in John 15:12: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” In John 15:13: Jesus says again ‘The greatest love a person can have for his friends,’ said Jesus, ‘is to give his life for them.’
In this context, I am reminded of Alfred Adler, how we can become closer to our friends, what we can do and all these things are explained. “You can be cured in 14 days if you follow this prescription, try to think every day how you can please someone.” As soon as he can connect himself with his fellow men or women on an equal and cooperative fulling, he is cured. Jesus is a great Psychologist. He knew the work of the human mind. He knew the causes of our illness when He commanded us to love our neighbor. He not only gave us a lofty sublime ethic, but, He also gave us a prescription for a happy and healthy life.
Pope Paul VI, said, “Love implies an absolute demand for justice, meaning a recognition of the dignity and rights of one’s neighbor. Justice attains its fullness only in love. The mission of preaching the Gospel dictates that now we must dedicate ourselves to the liberation of man even in his present existence. Unless the Christian message of love and justice shows its effectiveness through action in the cause of justice in the world, it cannot gain credibility with men of our times.
So brothers and sisters what we can do for the world by following Jesus’ command:
In this week let us try: Give a little time for others, give a friend flowers, share a meal, make a phone call, give hope, hug a child needing affection, speak praise to your teenager, forgive an enemy, use humor to defuse an argument, smile, say thank you. Remember, you don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.
Then we have to ask God: Lord, teach us to love you, as you deserve, teach us to love others, as you love us, teach us to love, even when it hurts to love, for it is in loving that we give glory to you. It is in loving that we give happiness to others and it is in loving that we find meaning in our lives. Amen.
Joke: A pastor was speaking to a Sunday school class about the things money can’t buy. Money can’ t buy laughter, money can’t buy affection, money can’t buy sympathy, money can’t buy compassion, money can’t buy love. So he told them, driving his point home he said, “What would you do if I offered you $1000/- NOT to love your mom and dad?” The class was stunned, silenced and ensued. Finally, a small voice said, “how much would you give me not to love my big sister?”