St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

 

Called to choose to love and to be loved                    Homily February 16, 2014           

 

 

Jesus says to his disciples: “do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5,17). Jesus, then, does not want to eliminate the commandments that the Lord gave through Moses, but to complete fulfillment.

But what does this “complete fulfillment” mean? It is the mysterious relationship between justice and greater justice: love.

Then, on one hand Jesus repeats and reminds us of some of the commandments:

- “you shall not murder”, even with words. And that, for example, brings peace to society.

-  “you shall not commit adultery”, even when we look at others. And that, for example, brings peace to family.

- “you shall not swear falsely”. We can never be the witness to a lie.

And Jesus invite us to make peace: “so when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift”.  Recently Pope Francis said: “Let us pray for peace, and let us bring it about, starting in our own homes!” (January 16).

And on the other hand, Jesus invites us to “complete fulfillment”, that is, true love. Love of God and love of our neighbor.

Two writings of Mother Teresa of Calcutta can help us to realize how to love and share love. 

           

1. Avoiding Evil[1]

We are capable of good and evil. Go created us to love and to be loved, so it is our test from God to choose one path or the other. Any negligence in loving can lead some to say Yes to evil, and when that happens we have no idea how far it can spread. That’s the sad part. If someone chooses evil, then an obstacle is set up between that person and God, and the burdened person cannot see God clearly at all. That`s why we have to avoid any kind of temptation that will destroy us. We gain the strength to overcome this from prayer, because if we are close to God we spread joy and love to everybody around us.

 

If evil takes possession of someone, that person, in turn, may spread evil to everybody around him. If we are in contact with such people we must try and help them and show them that God cares for them. Pray hard to help bring them back to prayer so that they may once more see God in themselves and then see Him in others. It is this which will help the person doing bad things because everybody –it doesn’t matter who– has been created by the same loving hand. We have all been created by the same loving hand.

 

 

2. Doing Good Things

 

I will read Mother Teresa’s speech:

“Recently, a man met me on the street. He said: ‘Are you Mother Teresa?’. I said, ‘yes?’ He said: ‘Please send somebody to my house. My wife is half mental and I am half blind. But we are longing to hear the loving sound of a human voice’. They were well-to-do people. They had everything in their home. Yet they were dying of loneliness, dying to hear a loving voice.

How do we know some one like that is not next to our house? Do we know who they are, where they are? Let us find them and, when we find them, love them. Then when we love them we will serve them.

Today God loves the world so much that He gives you, He gives me, to love the world, to be His love, His compassion. It is such a beautiful thought for us –and a conviction– that you and I can be that love and compassion.

Do we know who our own poor are? Do we know our neighbor, the poor of our own area? It is so easy for us to talk and talk about the poor of other places. Very often we have the suffering, we have the lonely, we have the people –old, unwanted, feeling miserable– and they are near us and we don’t, even know them. We have no time even to smile at them.

Tuberculosis and cancer [are] not the great diseases. I think a much greater disease is to be unwanted, unloved. The pain that these people suffer is very difficult to understand, to penetrate. I think this is what our people all over the world are going through, in every family, in every home.

This suffering is being repeated in every man, woman and child. I think Christ is undergoing his Passion again. And it is for you and for me to help them –to be Veronica[2], to be Simon[3] to them.

Our poor people are great people, a very lovable people. They don’t need our pity and sympathy. They need our understanding love and they need our respect. We need to tell the poor that they are somebody to us, that they, too, have been created, by the same loving hand of God, to love and be loved” [4].

 

Christ's love is always stronger than the evil in the world, so we need to love and to be loved.

Sometimes, for different reason, love can be difficult, but Jesus asks us to love, and we can do it.

Other times, for different reason, being loved can be difficult, because it is not always easy to accept the help of my neighbor. But Jesus teaches us, and then we can do it.

Let us ask our Lady, Blessed mother of God, to help us to love and to be loved.

–Fr. Higinio



[1] Cf. Mother Teresa, A simple Path, Ballantine Books, New York, 1995, pp. 51-52.

[2] According to tradition, Veronica wiped the face of Jesus with her veil as He made His way to Calvary.

[3] Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His Cross on the way to Calvary (cf. Luke 23,26).

[4] Cf. Mother Teresa, Come be my light, Doubleday, Toronto, 2007, pp. 295-296.