Go back to the gospels

XXXI Sunday in Ordinary Time

With all your heart

11/1/2018
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Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!  Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength". This is one of the most beautiful expressions of the Old Testament. Certainly this prayer, if it is repeated and assimilated, can change our heart and our life. In today's Gospel, Jesus takes this recommendation and completes it, He makes it become "His" commandment, the new commandment.

Jesus tells us that the first commandment is: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,... and the second is this::You shall love your neighbor as yourself.". Where is the novelty that Jesus brings?

Christianity, the true religion of Jesus, is the religion of love, not of fear; it is the religion of trust,  the religion of the heart and not of external practices. It is the religion of love: we discover more and more that God loves us with an infinite love, a love that is full of tenderness, goodness, mercy, trust. From this awareness everything else originates. God is love; we too are called to become love, even in our small actions, with all our limitations.

Jesus repeatedly announces the commandment of love. It is the most essential thing of the Gospel; love for God and neighbor are the most beautiful and greatest thing, the only things that give meaning and fullness to our life

Love for God and neighbor are so bound to be one. " If a man says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn't love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? ". Jesus says that everything we do to others is as if we do that to our neighbor: "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' ".

Jesus, in the fullness of his mission, is not content to say: love your neighbor as yourself, but He invites us to love according to the measure of his Heart: " Love one another. As I have loved you ". He loved us by offering Himself for us, until the sacrifice of  His life. This is "my commandment", it is "the new commandment".

The Gospel teaches us that love for God and neighbor is the only important thing, the only thing that is worth than all the rest.

It is easy to talk about love. But we should not show love in words, but through deeds. Indeed we should learn to speak little and to do many actions that show true generous and disinterested love,towards everyone, with particular attention to the people who need it most, even those who are not nice to us or to whom we do not we feel attracted. Jesus will say to love even the enemies ... " If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?

If we want to take the path of love, we should not just say beautiful words, but we should fill our lives with concrete facts. We should be aware that, despite all that Jesus said to us and that we ourselves know almost by heart, it is very easy to make mistakes and sin against charity and love for neighbor. It is above all towards others that we are sinners. Just think about the shortcomings we make with those who are closest to us, in our home, at work, in relationships with others: selfishness, words, judgments, criticism... Just think of sins among us Christians: divisions, disapproval, egocentricity, misunderstandings ... After all, even the great divisions among the various Christian denominations are sins against charity, against love. But we can say that Jesus had only recommended this to us. He had placed it as a badge for Christians. " By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another ". Prayer, mass, communion are not enough ... Prayer and Mass are necessary to become capable of loving one's neighbor. This leads us to be humble, to ask forgiveness, to be very concrete in our intentions.

In the first volumes of Luisa’s Diary there are many passages concerning love for God and neighbor.

On September 10, 1902, Jesus explained to Luisa that the prerogatives of love are three: constant love without end, strong love, and love of God and neighbor bound together. If these prerogatives do not appear in the soul, one can say that hers is not the quality of true love

On March 4, 1904, Jesus said  that Luisa’s soul must try to maintain the flight of an eagle – that is, to dwell up high, above all the low things of this earth; and so high that no enemy may harm it. In fact, one who lives up high can harm the enemies, but cannot be harmed. And she must not only live up high, but must try to have purity and sharpness of eyes, similar to those of an eagle. Though living up high, through the sharpness of her sight, she penetrates the divine things – not in passing, but by chewing them to the point of making of them her favorite food, despising any other thing. And she also penetrates the necessities of her neighbor, nor is she afraid to descend into their midst and do good to them; and if needed, she lays down her life. Through the purity of her sight, the love of God and the love of neighbor, from two she makes them one, rectifying everything for God. So must the soul be if she wants to please God.

And finally, on 8 September 1905, Jesus again explained to Luisa what true charity is.True charity is when, in doing good to his neighbor, one does it because he is God’s image. All the charity that goes out of this sphere cannot be called charity. If the soul wants the merit of charity she must never go out of this sphere, of looking at God’s image in everything. It is so true that true charity consists in this, that God’s very charity never goes out of this sphere: God only loves the creature because she is His image; and if by sin she deforms this image of His, He no longer feels like loving her – on the contrary, He abhors her; and He only preserves plants and animals because they serve His images; and the creature must modify all of herself on the example of her Creator.

But can we truly love? Yes, it is possible! And it's the most beautiful, easiest, most true thing: just try every day. Jesus gives us His example ... Jesus gives us His Spirit that is the power of true love in our hearts.

 




don Marco
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