12 January 2012

"Greater love hath no man than this..."

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

The summary of the law. Come to Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement, and that’s one of the first things you hear. It gets right down to business. There’s nothing timid about what gets laid out in front of us, and if anybody doesn’t like it, then there’s no point in sticking around. It tells us that Christ’s religion is serious and practical business.

Jesus links the love of our neighbor with our love of God. We love God by loving our neighbor, even when it’s not convenient. The cup of water we give to someone who is thirsty, we’ve given to God. The food we give to the hungry, we’ve given to God. So if we haven’t given the cup of water or the morsel of food where it’s needed, and it’s within our ability to do so, then we’ve denied it to God.

We’re a people who are called to love. Not the squishy-fuzzy-warm feeling kind of love, but a manly and active love, a love that does the right thing. When we love, it’s because we have first been loved by God in Jesus Christ. Christ’s death and resurrection free us to love God and to love our neighbor. No longer do we love just because we have to; we love because now we’re actually able to love. We love because God has loved us in Christ with the greatest love we will ever know - the crucified love of Jesus Christ.