Friday, August 23, 2013

“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things.”

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."- - Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Gospel Text: (MT 22:34-40)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

In today’s gospel, the Lord takes us to the depths of Christian catecheses, because «the whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments» (Mt 22:40).

This could explain the classic commentary of the two wooden beam’s of the Lord's Cross: the upright beam stuck in the soil is the verticality, looking at heaven towards God. The crossbar represents the horizontality, the relations with our fellowmen.

Often in the Church we use the word "charity" to explain agape. Unfortunately, the word “charity” has been co-opted to describe non-profit organizations and sometimes brings forth images of simply giving money.

Agape is a selfless, unconditional, and sacrificial love offered to others regardless of the response. This was the quality of love that Jesus possessed as he willingly endured scourging and the cross. This is the quality of love offered by his apostles in their service to others.

In his first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love), Pope Emeritus Benedict talked about "agape" love as descending love, a love that finds its source in God and comes to us as persons and that it might be offered to others. This is why St. Paul describes "agape" by saying, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (I Cor. 13:7,8)

As Jesus said to his followers, "By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another."

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