St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

Love is first. God is love. -Homily October 13, 2013


Jesus loved the ten men, but only one loved him back. What is love? Is it not something we give? But how can we give what we didnt receive? Christian love is called charity, and today we will follow the explanations of the Catechism about this virtue.


Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. (1822) Jesus makes charity the new commandment. (1823) First, let us see what the origin of this love is. Then, its characteristics.


1. Jesus makes manifest the Father's love which he receives: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love." By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus that they themselves receive: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (Cf. 1823) Love is something that we first receive and then we can give. That is why Jesus said: I give you a new commandment, because he gave us the love, he poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Cf. Rom 5:5). In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins We love, because he loved us first. (1John 4:10.19)


Charity and Christian love, the love that has changed our culture and can change it again, comes not from a simple human feeling, or from the love I may or may not have received from others in my life. Christian love comes from the fact that God loved me and died on a cross for me (Cf. Gal 2:20). That is why even people who have had a tough life, when they are touched by the love of God, become so eager in promoting the good of others; they become lovers. Because they have received the love of God, they can give love. And because the love of God is great, they become great and transform the world.


The secret of Christian love comes from the contemplation of the Cross. The Cross is the sign, the manifestation, the greatest expression of the love of God. We need to contemplate the Cross, allow the love of God to enter our hearts; we need to let him in and love him back.


2. There is no opposition between love and commandments: Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: "Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love." (John 15:9-10) (1824)


Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies." The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself. (1825) We love our enemies with the love we ourselves have received as sinners and forgiven by God.


The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Cor 13) Do you want to see your progress in Christian life? try to replace the word charity with your name, and see if it makes sense: John is patient and kind, John is not jealous or boastful etc.


"If I . . . have not charity," says the Apostle, "I am nothing." Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, "if I . . . have not charity, I gain nothing." Charity is superior to all the virtues. (1826) The first place in the Church is not a position of leadership, but love. The first in the kingdom of Heaven will be the one who loved more God: I was hungry, and you gave me food (Cf. Matt 25).


Charity articulates and orders the virtues among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. (1827) Charity is the queen of all virtues. Every virtue must obey charity, and where charity is lacking there is no virtue.


Charity gives Christians the spiritual freedom of the children of God. A Christian no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who "first loved us". (1828) We dont serve God because we are afraid of losing something if we dont, or because we expect to get something from him. We love him. That is why we should do his will. It does not mean that there is no reward or punishment, but for the one who loves God, reward is God himself and the only punishment is to lose him.


How do we recognize charity? The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: "Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest" (St. Augustine). (1829)


May God pour out his love into our hearts. May we always look at the Cross of Jesus and recognize our name in his wounds. May we love our neighbours as we have been loved by God. May the Holy Virgin Mary teach us how to love Jesus. Fr. Andrew





Catholic Womens League Upcoming Events

Sunday, October 20, 2013 following the 9:00 am Mass, a breakfast meeting at the

Columbus Community Centre with long service pin presentations

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. General meeting at the Parish Centre

with guest speaker Jo Upton, President, Royal Canadian Legion

December 1st draw for Cash for Christmas

November 30/December 1st pre Christmas Shopping event. Anyone doing fall

cleaning and wishing to donate special items, can contact Carol Lawless 905-372-2742

December 4th Christmas party at the Cobourg Memorial Temple, University Avenue

West cost $25.00

Reminder that Food For All are in need of donations. A container is located in the

Narthex of our church.