Monday, October 23, 2017

My Commandment is Love - Oct. 29, 2017


The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time A



Reading I: 
Exodus 22:20-26


Psalm:  18

Reading II: 
1 Thessalonians 1: 5c-10


Gospel:   
Matthew 22:34-40



My commandment is “Love.”  In today’s world there are many interpretations of the word “love.”  So what does God mean by
“love”?  The Lord teaches us through nature, and his words.

Being a dog lover, many of my lessons come from them. What unconditional love and loyalty they show their masters! There are so many true stories attesting to this. However, I am going to focus on the aspect of trust.

One of my favorite activities is spending time with a companion dog named Homer. He has shown me the close relationship between love and trustAs I attempted to prepare for a possible emergency situation, I was concerned about taking him into a small, dark, confined place, thinking that he might feel frightened and cornered and thus react negatively. Well, to my pleasant surprise, Homer simply followed my commands and seemed quite content. He knows I love him; therefore, he trusts that I am doing things in his best interest. How good that made me feel!

How pleased God must be when we trust him in at all times and circumstances. It is as if we are giving him a golden coin: one side is love and the flip side is trust.

Regarding love of neighbor,  I had an interesting experience while teaching and ministering at St. Michaels, Arizona, in Navajo land.  One of the teachers had an elderly father living in California. On school vacations, she would go to visit her father, and I would stay in her trailer to care for her dogs.  

One evening, I was sitting in the living room and noticed a book on dogs in her bookcase. Of course, that appealed immediately to
my curiosity, so I picked it up to read. One of the chapters happened to be explaining the loyalty and protectiveness of dogs toward their owners. The author explains that dogs are pack animals. They are protective of those in the pack. Well, that didn't surprise me. However, the next words did!! They see their owners as members of their pack. Along with their animal friends, we too are privileged to be the objects of their love and concern.

We hear about an expanded understanding of love through the words of God in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Scriptures. God instructs the Israelites to treat aliens well. He reminds them that they themselves were once aliens in Egypt. Rather than limit their love and concern to their own tribes, they are to extend themselves to others.

In the Christian Scriptures, we see Jesus telling parables which
include a Samaritan portrayed as a hero showing compassion for one who had been attacked by robbers. Jesus, Himself, reaches out to a Samaritan woman at the well, extending his compassion to one who is not accepted by the Jews.

Again in the Christian Scriptures we find St. Paul, called to become an apostle to the Gentiles, the non-Jews,  When the time came to name the Church founded by Jesus on the Apostles, it was called “Catholic”, which means “universal” for all peoples.

Finally, St. Paul gives us the beloved description of “Love” in his Epistle 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.


1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things,  hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 Reflection Question: 

Ask the Lord if there is an aspect of “love” in which he wishes you to grow?...then ask for his help.



Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...


Mi Mandamiento es Amor

Mi mandamiento es “Amor”. En el mundo de hoy hay muchas interpretaciones de la palabra “amor”. Entonces, ¿qué quiere decir Dios? “amor”? El Señor nos enseña a través de la naturaleza y sus palabras.

Al ser un amante de los perros, muchas de mis lecciones provienen de ellos. ¡Qué amor incondicional y lealtad muestran a sus maestros! Hay tantas historias verdaderas que atestiguan esto. Sin embargo, voy a centrarme en el aspecto de la confianza.

Una de mis actividades favoritas es pasar tiempo con un perro compañero llamado Homer. Me ha mostrado la estrecha relación entre el amor y la confianza. Mientras intentaba prepararme para una posible situación de emergencia, estaba preocupado por llevarlo a un lugar pequeño, oscuro y confinado, pensando que podría sentirse asustado y arrinconado y, por lo tanto, reaccionar negativamente. Bueno, para mi grata sorpresa, Homer simplemente siguió mis órdenes y parecía bastante contento. Él sabe que lo amo; Por lo tanto, él confía en que estoy haciendo las cosas en su mejor interés. ¡Qué bien que me hizo sentir!

Qué tan contentos debe ser Dios cuando confiamos en él en todo momento y circunstancia. Es como si le estuviéramos dando una moneda de oro: una parte es amor y la otra cara es la confianza.

En cuanto al amor al prójimo, tuve una experiencia interesante al enseñar y ministrar en St. Michaels, Arizona, en tierras navajo. Uno de los maestros tenía un padre anciano que vivía en California. En las vacaciones escolares, iría a visitar a su padre, y me quedaría en su remolque para cuidar a sus perros. 

Una noche, estaba sentado en la sala de estar y noté un libro sobre perros en su estantería. Por supuesto, eso apeló inmediatamente a
mi curiosidad, así que lo levanté para leer. Uno de los capítulos pasó a explicar la lealtad y la protección de los perros hacia sus dueños. El autor explica que los perros son animales de carga. Son protectores de los que están en el paquete. Bueno, eso no me sorprendió. ¡Sin embargo, las siguientes palabras lo hicieron! Ven a sus dueños como miembros de su manada. Junto con sus amigos animales, nosotros también tenemos el privilegio de ser los objetos de su amor y preocupación.

Escuchamos sobre una comprensión expandida del amor a través de las palabras de Dios en el Libro del Éxodo en las Escrituras Hebreas. Dios instruye a los israelitas para que traten bien a los extranjeros. Les recuerda que ellos mismos fueron extranjeros en Egipto. En lugar de limitar su amor y preocupación a sus propias tribus, deben extenderse a los demás.

En las Escrituras cristianas, vemos a Jesús contando parábolas que
incluyen a un samaritano interpretado como un héroe que muestra compasión por alguien que había sido atacado por ladrones. Jesús, él mismo, se acerca a una mujer samaritana en el pozo, extendiendo su compasión a quien no es aceptado por los judíos.

Nuevamente en las Escrituras Cristianas encontramos a San Pablo, llamado a convertirse en apóstol de los gentiles, los no judíos. Cuando llegó el momento de nombrar a la Iglesia fundada por Jesús en los Apóstoles, se la llamó “Católica”, que significa “universal” para todos los pueblos.

Finalmente, San Pablo nos da la amada descripción del “Amor” en su Epístola 1 Corintios 13: 4-13.


1 Corintios 13: 4-13

El amor es paciente y amable; el amor no envidia ni se jacta; No es arrogante o grosero. No insiste en su propio camino; no es irritable ni resentido; [a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. El amor lleva todas las cosas, cree en todas las cosas, espera todas las cosas, aguanta todas las cosas.
El amor nunca termina. En cuanto a las profecías, pasarán; En cuanto a las lenguas, cesarán; En cuanto al conocimiento, pasará. Porque sabemos en parte y profetizamos en parte, 10 pero cuando llega lo perfecto, el parcial pasará. 11 Cuando era niño, hablé como un niño, pensé como un niño, razoné como un niño. Cuando me convertí en hombre, renuncié a las costumbres infantiles. 12 Por ahora vemos en un espejo vagamente, pero luego cara a cara. Ahora lo sé en parte; entonces lo sabré por completo, incluso cuando he sido completamente conocido.
13 Así que ahora la fe, la esperanza y el amor permanecen, estos tres; Pero el mayor de ellos es el amor.


 Pregunta de reflexión: 

Pregúntale al Señor si hay un aspecto del “amor” en el que él desea que crezcas? ... luego pídele ayuda.

4 comments:

  1. Sr. Therese MW, S.B.S.October 24, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Yes, St. Paul's reference to "Love" (Cor. 13:4:13) is a treasure to be retained in our hearts, isn't it? All those other inspiring thoughts are certainly appreciated also, Sister.

    The following excerpts are from homilies delivered by Pope Francis:

    "For us Christians, love of neighbor springs from love of God and it is its most limpid expression. One tries to love one's neighbor, but also to allow oneself to be loved by one's neighbor. These two attitudes go together, one cannot be exercised without the other. Printed on the letterhead of the Missionaries of Charity are these words of Jesus: 'As you did it to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to Me.(Mt. 25:40).' "

    Pope Francis 5/21/13


    " 'God is love.' His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love, but the love of the Father, Who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son, Who dies on the cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit, Who renewed human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave Himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life. A God Who draws near out of love walks with His people and this walk comes to an unimaginable point. We could never have imagined that the same Lord would become one of us and walk with us, be present with us, present in His Church, present in the Eucharist, present in His Word, present in the poor. He is present, walking with us and this is closeness - the Shepherd close to His flock, close to His sheep, whom he knows one by one.

    Jesus wanted to show us His heart, as the heart that loved so deeply. God loved us. He loved us with such great love. I am thinking of what St. Ignatius told us. He pointed out two criteria on love. The first: Love is expressed more clearly in action than in words. The second: There is greater love in giving than in receiving. These two criteria are like the pillars of true love: deeds and the gift of self."

    Pope Francis
    6/7/13

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  2. Hi Sr. Annette,
    I really enjoyed reading about your loving dynamics with Homer. I am also an animal lover, my pet choice has always been a cat because I am not home much of the time and caring for the needs of a dog would be difficult. Our cat of sixteen years recently died, and there is a definite void in our house. I continue, however, to marvel at how amazing it is to have such an interactive relationship with an animal. Trust and love seem to exist quite naturally between owner and pet.
    In His response to the Pharisees, Jesus identifies love as the one value that transcends all others. The love He describes is not some superficial feeling or sentiment; rather, it is a “passionate love affair with God and the whole of humanity.” As Fr. Corbin Eddy writes, “The two great commandments engage our whole humanity in an ongoing conversation with God and with each other. To keep them well requires a passionate, heartfelt, soulful and mindful commitment to the God of the universe and to God’s created world.”
    I choose to focus on that perspective because in human relationships, my experience is that love and trust don’t always go hand-in-hand. Romance author, Susanne Matthews, talks about the deep love she still has for her husband of forty two years. She attributes the success of her long marriage to love and trust. The success of her romance novels however, is writing juicy stories where trust in love relationships is compromised. Unfortunately, human love often fails. It is not only breached love between couples. Any relationships where trust is betrayed can result in strained love. My personal story involves a beloved addicted child where lies and addictive behaviors eroded trust. Loving can become very challenging. For myself, it was the remembering of Jesus’ command to love others that kept me grounded in the truth that the person I love is a beloved child of God. Embracing that awareness helped me to be compassionate when I just wanted to turn from the situation. Fr. Eddy’s comments remind me of the depth and breathe of the love we are called to foster. When I am at my worst, it is comforting to know that God loves me in spite of my weaknesses.
    I close with a quote of John Kavanaugh which seems to capture the essence of Jesus’ discourse on love of God and neighbor. “This love isn’t just anything. It involves heart and will, soul and life, mind and strength. It requires a covenantal fidelity. It makes demands. Love is not mere ardor; it is arduous.”
    By choosing to love, however imperfect, we are offering a glimpse to the divine love that transcends all human love.
    Pat C., ASBS

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  3. Dear Sr. Therese Mary, Thank you for sharing the beautiful reflections on love by Pope Francis and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
    I liked particularly the words of Pope Francis: Jesus walks beside us on the road through life."
    through life"

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  4. Dear Pat, I love your last sentence: "By choosing to love, however imperfect, we are offering a glimpse to the divine love that transcends all human love." Thanks, Sr. Annette

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