Meditating with Fr. Frank
Last Sunday, on October 25th, we meditated on Love being among the most precious gifts God has bestowed upon us. All the commandments are founded on love, rooted in love, and ordered toward love. In the Gospel Reading ( Mt 22:34-40) Jesus taught us that “loving God above all things, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves, are the two greatest of the commandments.” Love, therefore, is the ideal way of living for us Christians. Love incorporates our relationship with God into everything we do. But love is more than a good speech. Talk is cheap. Love is action.
Our First Reading from the Book of Exodus (Ex 22:20-26) gave us clear examples of love in action - a love which cares not only for those familiar to us, or someone we agree with or someone we see regularly at church, but also, love the reaches out to the impoverished, to a widow or widower, an orphan, the victims of prejudice and racism, the victims of domestic abuse, the abandoned, the marginalized, the unborn, the incarcerated, the addicted, and the alien. An alien could mean a stranger, an immigrant, a refugee, or those close to us, yet estranged from us.
We experience love in many ways, from sharing our common decency and friendship, to putting ourselves out for those who are most destitute, just as Mother Theresa and Saint Francis of Assisi did. Love is the reason we find ourselves helping at the homeless shelter or serving at the soup kitchen or delivering meals on wheels, or stocking food pantries, or inviting to dinner those who live alone. Love is the reason some of us are foster parents. Love is the reason some of us stand for hours in protest outside the abortion clinic or matching on streets to peacefully protest the injustices. In short, we are all capable of loving, because “God has poured his love into our hearts” (Rom 5:5).
However, we also know that love has many enemies. Love is often overshadowed by pride, hate, divisions, violence, greed, prejudice, indifferentism. Love is betrayed whenever we resort to name-calling, cursing, or yelling at each other through the traffic, at the grocery store, in the parking lot, at the coffee shop, on cable news, on social media, at places of work, or even at places of worship. Love is betrayed whenever we treat others like they do not matter. No wonder some people have given up believing that charity begins at home. How much pain of betrayal or domestic abuse must someone endure and for how long? Because of these painful wounds, more families are becoming dysfunctional and estranged from each other, more friendships being lost, many struggling marriages on the rise, and many broken hearts to heal. Saint John teaches: “If we do not love our neighbor whom we can see, how can we say we love God whom we cannot say?” (1Jn 4:20)
So, the takeaway is that each of us has been entrusted with the gift of love, not for the hording, but to share for the common good. Some day we will all stand before God and give account of how we have made the most of God’s gift of love. May love be always the first word on our lips, waking up each morning, and the last word on our lips, going to bed each night. God is love, and where love is, there is God in our midst. AMEN.