Just a few weeks ago on the Feast of the Holy Family we heard the exact same words from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians admonishing us “But above all these things have charity.” Clearly, love was at the heart of the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We pray that love be at the heart of our families as well. We fervently wish that love be at the center of all that we do and say as members of the Body of Christ. In the end what matters most is that we have loved and been loved.
Yet, love can readily be misunderstood from being improperly defined. It is often cheapened by the world to suit its purpose. It can lose its flavor and go flat, because we try to turn it into something different from its real nature or character. For some love is merely a feeling, a sentiment. Yes, there is that dimension. For example, usually a mother does not need to be told to love her children. It is almost instinctual. But love goes deeper. It is not just a sense to protect and defend what is ours. True love means to lay down one’s life for others, not counting the cost, giving one’s all freely, obediently obeying God’s commandments. In fact, at times we may not feel anything in loving, or there may be discomfort or pain. Nevertheless, we do the loving thing come what may according to the mind of God.
Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, once said that love in reality is far more difficult that the love in dreams. The proof is in the pudding. It does matter how we live day to day, the time of our lives, the choices made or not made. We can be either weeds or wheat as the gospel relates. In the traditional translation it refers to the cockle and wheat. In the end Jesus the Judge will sort all things out to reward the just and punish the wicked. The standards are God’s not yours or mine. Jesus in the Gospel warns us not to be indifferent or complacent. There is no permissive attitude in Jesus’ words. Where did modern man ever get that view of Jesus Christ and religion? In fact, the Scriptures say the opposite. That is why we need a Savior. No one can get to heaven on his own. We will never have what it takes to save ourselves. Jesus must step in the save us from ourselves, from the failure to love. Let us look for Him in all the right places, and He will let us find Him.
Yours in the Lord,
Fr. Mark G. Mazza