Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Fr. Paul Ward

Saturday, October 25, 2014
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
Cycle A
Sacred Heart Catholic Church

The Commandment of Love


   Our Lord gives us the command of love in today’s Gospel. The other readings are only two of countless passages that instruct us to love. Let us therefore reflect briefly upon all of this.

   I propose to do so under four headings. First, that there is an order: God first, then neighbor. Second, that the family is the primary place to attain love. Third, that the world’s is wrong about impurity, that is, how love is not the same thing as impurity. And fourth, that love is a two-way street.

   To the first point. You will notice that Jesus first states what is the “greatest” commandment, which is the love of God. Then he uses the word, “second,” when giving the commandment to love one’s neighbor. This is important, because some souls might think that one’s spouse comes before God, or one’s child, or one’s parent, or one’s fiancée, or one’s friend. And led by this disorder, he might “support” this other person in something sinful, such as an abortion, a sodomite relationship, a theft; or help him cover up a marital infidelity, or substance addiction, a situation of cohabitation, or a negligence in practicing the faith. You see, love is “intolerant.” It does not tolerate evil in the beloved. The friend or lover rejoices that the beloved exists, and wants what is good for him or her, not what is evil.

   Next, the family is the best place to practice love. Yes, even love for God. How beautiful it is when couples come to Church to marry instead of just living together in sin; how inspirational when the family prays together; how edifying to see an elderly couple helping each other faithfully get to Church on Sundays; how consoling to see couples on the same page when it comes to embracing the doctrines of faith and morals of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, a mother reveals unconditional love, that is, that love which does not have to be earned; yet a father reveals that love which has standards, and there are conditions established by his authority; for love enjoys both of these aspects, and one without the other – unconditional love without discipline, or discipline without affection – quickly becomes a nightmare that only serves to destroy the child, making his moral life difficult and his capacity to love hindered.

   The third point is that the world is wrong equating love with the union of the flesh. In all the movies, TV programs, and so much more, two people are said to love one another only when they copulate. And so it is that the sodomites – which is the correct word for what the modern newspeak calls a practicing “homosexual” – say they love one another, and that society does evil in prohibiting this. But it is out love that we condemn what they do; for what they do is unnatural, sinful and is not for their true good. Young people today who date or court are assailed with so many expectations that they should experience the physical intimacies outside of marriage; so much so that public – and even some Catholic! – schools teach them that this is expected of them, evil teen novels and teen movies and teen programs portray a world full of teen fornication, parents sometimes encourage it or at least turn a blind eye to it. All of this results in experiencing the bodily intimacies before true love – I stress the word “true” – with the wretched consequence of crippling their living and growth in love. Marital union is a certain kind of expression of a certain kind of love; it is expected of spouses, and a spouse sins gravely by denying the other spouse in this matter; yet it is a privilege only of the married state and is prohibited to those not married. For that kind of union, outside of marriage, is a lie, and nothing is more uncharitable to another person except murder.

   Fourth, and finally, love is a two-way street. There is an active part, and a passive part. There is a receiving, and there is a giving. To not love is to be distorted; to not be loved is very destructive. Very often, poor souls experience the distress of not being loved. Perhaps it is a young man ignored by a beautiful young lady for whom he pines. Perhaps it is a spouse who loves, but the other spouse only rejects. Perhaps it is an affectionate sibling, whose brother or sister refuses to talk to them. And so relationships of love, be they friendships, family, or so forth, are a two way street. Love is place to give and to receive. No one can honestly say he is friends with a person who hates him.

   Let us then, as families, as a parish, as neighborhoods and classrooms and workplaces, build up true relationships of friendship and love with one another. Few things can be so effective to convert a world addicted to sin than the witness of love, the unrelentingly joyful witness of love. Not the love of permissiveness, nor of impurity, nor of selfishness, but the love that has God first and as its foundation, a love that wants to be good and give what is good, a love that wages war unconditionally against evil and sin. A love which imitates that of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, not for his own good, but for the good of the sinners for whom he died.

   Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us, that we can obtain that supernatural love, which is called Charity, a gift poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, infinitely exceeding all human love; for that maternal heart was perfect in love and remains so eternally in heaven. Amen.
















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