01 Nov All Saints Day
“You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and You will love your neighbor as yourself. Using these two fundamental precepts, Jesus establishes two essential cornerstones for believers of all times. The first is that moral and religious life cannot be reduced to an anxious and forced obedience, but must have love as its principle. The second is that love must tend together and inseparably towards God and neighbor. This is one of Jesus’ primary innovations and it helps us understand that what is not expressed in love of neighbor is not true love of God; and, likewise, what is not drawn from one’s relationship with God is not true love of neighbor. Love for God is expressed above all in prayer, particularly in adoration. And love for neighbor, which is also called fraternal charity, consists in closeness, listening, sharing, caring for others. The verification of our journey of conversion and holiness is always in the love of our neighbor. As long as there is a brother or sister to whom we close our hearts, we will still be far from being disciples as Jesus asks of us.” — Pope Francis
FROM YOUR PASTOR
How do YOU LIVE the Greatest Commandment?
The LIFE OF JESUS defines the answer to this question.
In asking Jesus to articulate the Greatest Commandment, the Pharisees are not asking Him to choose among ten… they are asking him to choose among the 613 Commandments in the Torah and pick the most important.
Jesus does so with a simply complex answer…He exhorts them to LOVE GOD and to LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR.
Common to both these commandments…is LOVE.
Unlike the Pharisees who basically instructed the people to do as they say and not as they do, Jesus tells us to DO AS HE DOES…and that becomes an enormous command. Why? Because in His death on the Cross, he exhibited the greatest LOVE there is — to lay down one’s life for another…for you and for me…
Jesus knew well the words of Psalm 18, ‘I love you, O Lord’…directing our first act of LOVE to God.
Jesus knew well the words from Exodus as God spoke to the Ancient Israelites…’for I am compassionate’…directing our second act of LOVE to others.
And Paul learned from Jesus as he reminds the Thessalonians that they become Holy when they become Imitators of Jesus.
So what is LOVE? Saint Thomas Aquinas reminds us that LOVE IS TO WILL THE GOOD OF ANOTHER. But that is NOT YOUR GOOD for them, it is the GOOD THAT GOD HAS DESIGNED for them.
Holy Scripture reminds us that LOVE is not easy… it is a CHALLENGE … it is not a sentiment or emotion… it is a DECISION. Why? Because we are called to LOVE BAD PEOPLE TOO — criminals, enemies, critics, those who drive us crazy, and those who are mean — because we desire that they repent and follow God’s perfect plan for their life. That is TOUGH LOVE…not shown TO US…but required OF US.
And that is why the PORTRAIT OF LOVE that Jesus PAINTS FROM THE CROSS becomes the example for us to follow…the ULTIMATE PAIN for the ULTIMATE GOOD.
The LOVE that Jesus exudes from the Cross reminds us that WE ARE LOVABLE…that includes the stranger and the friend.
The LOVE that Jesus exudes from the Cross exhorts us TO LOVE AS HE LOVES… that includes those who harm us as well as those who revere us.
The LOVE that Jesus exudes from the Cross reminds us that LOVE INCLUDES SUFFERING…that includes a personal cost to us as we replace our pride with humility in the service of others.
So, how do WE LOVE as JESUS LOVES in Service to God and in Service to Others? WE LOVE BY DEED, BY WORD, AND BY PRAYER.
>We stand up for Moral Principles in the Public Square – – at work, at school, in politics, or at home.
> We share our Religious Values with Others — not to shame them but to plant seeds of faith.
> We respond to the Moral Doubts found in the Moral and Ethical Decisions of Daily Life — by sharing the Christian point of view as advice and counsel…not admonition.
> We minister to those who are in Sorrow or Distress – – by being with and listening to the person in need.
> We bear Wrongs to Us and Others — by seeking basic human rights and dignity and justice while and praying for our transgressors.
> We forgive Mental and Spiritual Offenses – – by allowing forgiveness to replace anger.
> We pray for the Living and the Dead — by remembering them while fostering their and our healing.
> We care for Those in Need – – by using our time, talent and treasure as a doer of mercy.
> We link the Material with the Spiritual – – by giving others the material goods they need for daily survival along with a prayer for their survival.
> We assist those who must Leave Their Home or Find a Home — by providing shelter, companionship, and help.
> We seek those who are alone or isolated or imprisoned – – by visits, contacts, or assistance.
> We visit those who are Confined by Choice or Necessity or Illness — by giving our most precious commodity…which is our time.
> We care for those who Mourn – – by our expression of sympathy, our presence, or the provision of necessities as they grieve.
So, what is the bottom line?…It is SIMPLY COMPLEX…
We love God by being Christ to others…through HIS LOVE…
+May God Bless You and Keep You+