A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 10/26/14 -SMG
Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Have you noticed how much people are using the word ‘love’ today? We throw that word around a lot. Especially in our post-9/11 world, many couples and families vowed after that terrible day that they would never say ‘goodbye’ without saying ‘I love you.’ Lots of folks say it a lot. And it is not just about the people that we love, we say we love everything. I blame a lot of this on all those “I-heart blank” bumper stickers: “I heart New York” or “I heart the Colts” or “I heart my cat” or “I heart Scottish terriers” or “I heart pizza”. Last week, I was driving behind a pickup truck with the bumper sticker “ I heart your stink”. I thought, say what? It was a pickup truck that belonged to one of those septic service companies. Today we are free to love and express our love for anybody and anything. We even say that word ‘love’ a lot of times, when we probably don’t mean it. I love Taylor Swift. I love those jeans. I love that coffee. We even sing about love: All you need is love. What’s love God to do with it? Love will keep us together. Love hurts. Love the one you’re with. Keep on loving you. I love you, Baby. And after awhile, after all the talk, and after all the songs, and all the bumper stickers, sometimes we find out that we really don’t know so much about love after all. Love is not as easy as it sounds. And it is a whole lot easier to talk about love, than it is to actually do it.
We’ve got to remember that today as we come to Mass and Jesus sums up all the Commandments, in the two greatest Commandments: We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. And we are to love our neighbor, our brothers and sisters, as ourselves. Wow, doesn’t that sound easy! Is Jesus doing away with keeping holy the Sabbath, and not killing and not committing adultery, and not stealing, and not obeying your parents? No, of course not. In actuality, Jesus is making it harder by reminding us that we can do those things because we do need to love God and our neighbor. But it has got to be more than just words!
God is supposed to be the number one priority in our lives. That’s why we are supposed to love Him with our all – all our hearts, and all our souls, and all our minds, and all our strengths. Doesn’t mean we can’t love other things and other people. It does mean that we can’t love anybody or anything more than we love God. That’s where we get in trouble. God wants to be number one. God wants to be our priority, not just somewhere on our list. My brothers and sisters, we have a jealous God. He has made it very clear. He doesn’t want us to have other gods. And we just love little “g” gods! And we’ve got lots of them too, like money, and like our pride, like football, and golf, and our jobs, our homes, our cars, and even our alone time. God wants to be first. Is He???
Secondly, the new great commandment says that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. How we doing at that? We’re all pretty good at loving ourselves, no matter how many self-esteem books we read each year. But do we treat our neighbor as ourselves? Do we really love them, and care? How many times do we say to ourselves that we should make a donation to that cause, or we should send them a card, or we should take the time to call or visit someone. And then we never quite get around to actually doing it. That’s not loving our neighbor as ourselves. We’re pretty good at taking care of ourselves and doing what we need to do for us. Why can’t we better at doing those same things for others?
Love is NOT easy. And love has got to be more than nice words or a bumper sticker. Real love of God and our neighbor is a constant challenge. It is what God asks of us. Do you remember, after Jesus was raised from the dead, and His encounter with Peter, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” It is a tough question. But what if Jesus asked you that question today? How would you answer? Do you love Him? And is your love for Him more than just nice words or a bumper sticker? Oh Lord, help us to live out our love every day!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us!!!