LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING
30th Ordinary Sunday A
Exo. 22:20-26, 1Thess. 1:5-10; Mt. 22:34-40
It took true love to awaken the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ from her death-sleep. It was genuine love of Belle that restored the Beast to his true self. It was a kind bishop in Le Miserables who freed the escaped convict to be a new man. And it was the trusting ways of a pastor that moved Nicky Cruz, a street hood to become a street evangeliser.
Love has the power to change us. It transforms and restores, heals and frees, affirms and recreates. We owe God or some one for what we have turned to be. Love leaves an impact on us and upon the world.
Love means many things in today’s context. Its true sense is lost. It has become a much abused word. For a good number, love is likened to a strong desire, a passion, a supreme need or an obsessive ache. Others reduce love to sex, thrills, light & easy life, about feeling good about ourselves.
But scripture presents love as God, a life force that sustains us and the world; as the entire will of God. It is the purpose of our life, that all things are born in love, born for love and born to love. We encounter God’s love in 3 ways:
a) By recitation of the Word: Dt.6:5…..love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The verses are from the first part of today’s Gospel, and from the Shema which is recited by devout Jews every morning and night, so as the commandment of God is “written on the hearts” and drilled into the memory of every child. Recitation leads to memorising, which leads to a deepening; and eventually, to an ‘ah! ah! experience of God’s love.
b) By acting on the Commandment: Lev.19:18….love your neighbour, love yourself is also the second part of today’s Gospel. For Jesus, love of neighbour mirrors our love of God. The 2 Commandments are one Law. Sometimes, as we live out the Word or act on the Word or step out in faith, God meets us….God’s love is experienced.
c) By encountering God first-hand: Some refer to this as a mystical experience. Others have called this, an implosion or a bursting forth of God’s love and mercy within the person. Spiritual masters called this “consumed by the fire” or Jeremiah’s “seduced me’. St Theresa of Lisieux expressed this love experience: “Jesus flooded the darkness of my soul with torrents of light. Love filled my heart. I forgot myself and henceforth I was happy.”
Many of us have yet to experience it. Some did but stifled it. Others, upon tasting the goodness of the Lord, felt stirred to live and share it.
There are “4 Steps To Loving Better”:
a) Tell God: Tell Him that you want to keep the commandment of love, that you want what He wants.
b) Remove the Blocks: Confess. Let go of your hang-ups, patterns of control, self-effort and ego.
c) Work at Love: Start where you are. Start near you. Pray each day to do an act of kindness.
d) Give Quality Time to God and His people: It is said “you cannot love someone that you do not know; and you cannot know someone that you don’t spend quality time with.”
Love changes everything. Love changes us. Love bursts in and suddenly all wisdom disappears.