I. Homily – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 25-26, 2014
II. How do we love God?
A. We love him by treating others with charity and respect.
1. We love him by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the imprisoned.
2. We love him by attending to the sick and the dying.
3. We love him by ministering to the poor and the suffering.
B. But, did you notice that this is the second part of the commandment…”love your neighbor as yourself.”
III. What about the first part of the commandment, “Love God with your whole heart, with your whole soul and with your whole mind”? What about this commandment?
A. We have been well taught about this second part of the commandment of love and rightly so.
B. We can often fail to be considerate of others and we can quite easily choose our own comfort over helping others in need especially if they are unknown to us.
C. Still, we know that we should…care for others…
1. Our parish was incredibly generous with the collection to help children in Ukraine…we were quite generous in helping the Little Sisters of the Poor last Spring and our St. Vincent DePaul Society last Fall.
2. The needs have grown as our economy has suffered…more people out of work or underemployed.
3. I have been impressed when there has been someone sick in our community how we rally around that person and help out wherever there is a need.
4. This is indeed essential to the Christian life and something upon which we can all agree…it is Christian to love and care for others in time of need.
5. We can certainly do more…but we have no disagreement on its importance.
D. Further, it is hard to distinguish the first part and the second part of that commandment for Christ told us: “As the Father has loved me, so I love you…” and he has asked us to do as He has done.
1. When we love one of God’s children, we are loving Him.
2. There is no doubt about this.
3. When God confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, He asked him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
a) This was a sign to us that Christ identifies Himself with His people.
b) Christ and all His members are one.
E. In fact, in another place, Christ even teaches His disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commands…”
1. What are his commands?
2. Honor your Father and Mother.
3. Do not kill. Defend and Respect Life at all of its stages.
4. Be faithful in love for your spouse.
5. Do not be jealous or envious or vindictive. Do not steal.
6. Do not lie, gossip or ruin others reputations.
7. Support Christ’s Body the Church.
IV. And, yet, even though there is this clear connection between loving Christ and loving others…,Jesus Christ still takes this commandment of love and separates it into two parts: Love of God and Love of Neighbor.
A. If the Love of God were simply and purely co-extensive with love of neighbor, then He would not have done this.
B. So, what is Jesus talking about?
C. There is the other side of love of God, which is the first side of love of God, which we may not always think about…
D. This type of love of God permeates scripture from the first book of the Bible through the last.
1. This type of love of God is central in the story of Creation, the story of Noah’s ark, God making His covenant with Abraham, the story of the Israelites being led out of Egypt…we find it throughout the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah and Isaiah…
2. This type of love is central in the New Testament whether it be Jesus’ prophecies, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection stories, Saint Paul’s preaching or the Book of Revelation.
3. But, we can lose sight of this most important activity of giving Christ our heart, soul and mind is an act of love.
4. Of course, it is His worship…what you are doing now is an act of love for God…it is actually not about you…it is about us offering the sacrifice of our life, (heart, mind and soul), to God, bowing down and giving thanks to Him who has given us His life.
E. We tend to be a pragmatic people. People who like concrete reality and the doing of life, but, as an parent can testify, parents love it when their children visit them after they have left the home…when their children call but don’t just phone it in.
1. What you are doing here is an act of love and your bringing those you love here to our Lord is you loving them…you uniting them with the one who loves them.
2. This is a great act of love.
3. Just as any truly loving relationship does not rest only on one moment a week, we should desire to linger in that act of love throughout the week and throughout each day…this lingering in this act of love is our prayer each day and throughout the week…when we love someone, we make sure we spend close intimate time with them when we can, but, when we are separated, we also make sure that we phone them, write them, remind them of our affection for them and allow them to love us in return…this is our prayer all other six days a week.
a) Maybe it is in a simple morning offering or offering before we go to bed.
b) Maybe it is in prayers before meals or reading scripture or spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in the adoration chapel.
c) Maybe it is in daily Mass or regular reception of the Sacrament of Penance.
d) Maybe it is in praying the Divine Office or praying the rosary.
e) These are all ways that we extend the act of love that happens each Sunday at Mass.
V. The unexpected truth is that we come here to worship Him, but we receive more than we give.
A. We come here to give thanks to Him, but He just gives right back.
B. And, the gift He gives is no tit-for-tat, He gives us His very self, body, blood, soul and divinity, because He wants us to share eternity with Him.
C. Ultimately, He asks us to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind so that He might love us with all of His being.