Homily

Homily for 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Deacon Arturo

The word “love” is one of the simplest words in our vocabulary, but it is little-understood and misused. We confuse the verbs "to love" and "to like.”

In today's Gospel, Jesus challenges us to seek the true meaning of the word love.

The Judaic law had in its canon 613 precepts which forced the Jewish people to know them, know about them and understand them. That is why this doctor of the law wanted to put Jesus to the test.

Every Jew should know these precepts, but it is Jesus who puts this pharisee to the test when he explains that the foundation of all law is and must be based on love of God and our neighbor. Jesus sums up the whole law in one word: "love." It is that love that must manifest itself without ties, free in expression and come from the heart. The love that should be felt in our being and that emanates from it make us willing to give without expecting anything in return and without conditions and restrictions.

Love is also sincere and with the heart being set on others, that is, it must be an empathic love, feeling what our neighbor feels. Only then will we be giving something that will have a transforming effect on the people who receive it. It is in turn a love that most often causes a response, because our actions were for the good of those who received it. When there is love, there is no selfishness. He who loves with sincerity does not think of himself but of the good of others. He who loves his neighbor wishes his personal well-being and that of his family and always reaches out to him without hesitation and without asking.

Love puts the collective welfare above the personal.

Love is joy and wanting to relieve suffering. Love is helping the needy and not exploiting or profiting in any way from them. Love is walking alongside your neighbor when you sense they are disoriented or confused in the faith of Christ. It is doing as St. Paul tells us in the second reading "to be an example for those who are in tribulations." By loving your neighbor, you love God, and the face of Jesus is reflected in the face of each one of them. It is living proof that Jesus is present in each person we meet daily.

We must shed our prejudices. The Christian who claims to love does not look at social status, color, or descent…Anglo, Latino, African or Asian. It should not be selfish, because we must help others to also love their loved ones, friends and the stranger who reaches out to them for help. Many children living on the streets without their parents, abandoned to their fate, will not be able to receive love and, therefore, will not be able to give what they have not received. I wonder what anguish and despair I would feel as a parent if I were forced to separate from my children. How could I give them the love and care that every child requires to grow spiritually and mentally healthy?

Only loving God gives us the freedom to love without restrictions. Free love is joyful and enriches the soul.

We must humbly ask God through His Spirit to teach us to love. May He remove the blindness from our eyes and open the eyes of our heart to see in the face of our neighbor who needs us the face of Jesus.

Loving defines our integrity as a person. Just as a bee extracts nectar from flowers to produce honey, in loving God our soul extracts that sweet nectar of love and all that is in it. Then our soul knows nothing but the love of God in our whole being--soul, body, and heart. We give ourselves to love only when we have offered ourselves as a living sacrifice to God and our neighbor.

Saint Teresa of Ávila reminds us that we must also be attentive to that love we give to God and to our neighbor, because the more we love God, the more the force of darkness, wants to separate us. Selfishness, racism, and intolerance towards our neighbor who does not know the love of God, will cause him to reject it and make him a slave to evil.

Let us ask our Lord Jesus Christ, present here in the Eucharist, to strengthen us with His body and His blood, to give us a big heart to love and to humbly forgive.

 
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