Friday, August 21, 2015

Aug. 21, 2015 Friday: 20th Week in Ordinary Time B

Aug. 21, 2015 Friday: 20th Week in Ordinary Time B

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus 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.”

There are two ways that people show their love, love in words and love in deeds. This distinction should be familiar to us from the words of our Savior, who made it very clear that the person who loves Him “is not the one who says “Lord, Lord”, but the one who keeps my word”. There is a proverb in the English language that says, “They do not love that do not show their love.” Nothing depends more on proof in this world than love; nothing needs more proof than love, as all lovers know. “Do something, show me, prove to me that what you tell me is true!”

Jesus showed how much He loved all of mankind both in word and in deeds. Jesus revealed to St. Faustina that his love for mankind was demonstrated by what he did on earth:
“My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of My goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.” (Diary, 1485)

So what is the obligation of my responsive love for God? Since God has been so loving to me, how should I in return be loving Him? The answer is too obvious, “In the same way!” Now we know that God is infinite, and I most certainly am not. God is wealthy and I am poor; that’s an understatement!

What can we possibly give to God? He knows perfectly well that everything we have, even the power of loving Him, is already His prior gift to us. No matter. Like a loving parent who is very pleased with the gift the child presents, bought with money the parent gave, God is pleased, immensely pleased, with our desire. That’s the point. He is pleased with our willingness to return His gifts to Him, to give back to the Lord what the Lord has first given to us. We know and God knows that this is not make-believe. Oh no, it is real, very real indeed. And what makes it so real is the fact that we can refuse to do it. If we need any evidence of the fact that it is in our power to return love for love, we have it in the fact that we can withhold this willingness.

"If God who owes nothing to us is ready to impart to us no less than Himself, shall we answer with just a fraction of ourselves? To give ourselves fully to God is a means of receiving God Himself. I for God and God for me. I live for God and give up my own self, and in this way induce God to live for me. Therefore to possess God we must allow Him to possess our soul.” (Mother Teresa)