Exodus 22, 20-26, Psalm 18th, 1 Thessalonians 1, 5-10; Matthew 22, 34-40 By +Guy Sansaricq
As we read these texts, let us not hurriedly say: “Oh! We have heard that before! It is “déjà vu!” True, these writings today are all about the great commandment of love: “You shall love the Lord with all your hearts, your strength and spirit and you will love your neighbor like yourself.” Yet, our grasping of the concept of love is frequently very shallow. We are challenged today to broaden and enrich it.
In novels, movies and real life the romantic dimension of love is much emphasized. We think of it in terms of physicl emotions which are indeed a palpable and undeniable dimension of that sentiment. But there is more to it. True love in the sense used by Scripture seeks no gratification for the lover but rather prompts the lover to seek frantically the good of the loved one even to the point of losing his own life. True love demands a dimension of self denial for the sake of the other.
Jesus is the model of all lovers as “He loved us to the end.” He gave up his life for our sakes. The martyrs and the saints are witnesses of true love. True love extends itself to the stranger, the poor, the unwanted, the weak, the undesirable, the wicked. True love allows the flourishing of virtues such as kindness, patience, endurance, generosity, forgiveness and all those virtues which are like the jeweled crown of genuine humanity. The one who loves is a dedicated servant always willing to share with the needy everything he has not simply his money. The hospitality of the Thessalonians to Paul, as proclaimed in the second reading is a good example of charity and love as it should be practiced among Christians. May our modern world so admirable in many respects not perish for lack of love… you too!