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Tell Me, Who Do You Love?

November 28, 2014

Catholic is hard.  Christianity is hard.  Easy to say.  Hard to do.  We have been taught well what we ought to do; so much so it should be by reflex now, when we are faced with those tough everyday decisions.

In Luke 21, Jesus is seated, looking up at us.  Teaching us.  He wants us look at the widow.  Because she knows what to do.  She knows to give it her all.  And she didn’t just give all she had, her livelihood – she gave all she had left!  She knew to Trust in the Lord, for she longed to see His face.  Just like the people in the Response Psalm 24: we long to see his face.  This is an important lesson.  It has been occurring over and over in these readings; these last days.  The scribes and Pharisees are coming for the Lord.  And yet Jesus, urgently stays, seated, at the temple, to teach this simple, important, last lesson.

Her offering of all she had is pure.  Jerusalem’s offering is false.  I almost hear Jesus quizzing us, “What Would I Do?”!   Our widow knows instinctively what to do.  Why?  Because she is Church, widowed from her spouse – Christ Jesus.  Scott Hahn writes, “She lives in poverty of spirit and gives devoutly to the Lord’s treasury the two coins of charity – the love of God and neighbor.”  Trust in the Lord.

The love of God and neighbor.  We have heard this.  We know this instinctively.  The Pharisees know it.  They know it – AND teach it – because it is from their laws (remember: I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it!).  They were taught in the synagogue, Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5, and Joshua 22:5.  We hear it all the time from the New Testament earlier in Luke 10:27, and from Matthew 19:19.  St Paul wrote of it to the Romans 13:9 and the Galatians 5:14.  And even in the letter from James 2:8.  “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).   Last week I spoke about our neighbors.  Who are our neighbors?  The people we know and love.  Our friends.  Strangers.  Yes.  But also the lonely people.  The poor, hungry, naked, ill, imprisoned, those ones we heard about last Sunday, celebrating Christ the King.  If anyone ever asks you what it is to be a Christian, have them read Matthew 25: 31 – 46; The Judgment of Nations.  That’s it in a nutshell.  Period.

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make them my friends? – Lincoln

We love our friends, our strangers, and yes, even – and I’ll remind you here – especially – our enemies.  And remember what love is.  It is, as Aquinas taught, willing the good of the other as other.  Never seeing the other as a means to ourselves, but only as an end.  Willing the good of the other as other – and then doing something about it.  So when we love our enemy, we are wishing good on him for his sake alone; the thought being that if enough good happens in the world, it benefits them, and us!  Abraham Lincoln once replied to someone who advised to destroy your enemy.  Lincoln replied, “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make them my friends?”

And so we love ALL fellow Catholics.  The Protestant.  The Atheist.  Yes, even the Muslim.  The single, the married, the widowed, the divorced, and yes even the gay.  From the most productive or affluent, to the destitute.  Please!  Tell all you know, you few who have read this today.  We love them all, otherwise we haven’t put that last penny in the collection plate.  This is our faith!

Last week of Ordinary Time.  It’s 4th Quarter; game on the line!

We do these things we know.  The things we hear from the ambo, or from the radio on KVBM, or Father Barron; and in sacred Scripture, and from the Magisterium.  And who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?  The sinless, whose heart is clean, David sings to us.  Then you shall receive a blessing from the Lord.  It is salvation.  Easy to say.  Hard to do.

 

Peace & Thanksgiving,

Papa

 

Readings for November 24, 2014; Last Monday of Ordinary Time:

Revelation 14:1-5.  His name and his Father’s name are written on their foreheads.

Psalm 24:cf. 6 – Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Luke 21:1-4.  He noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.

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