THE LAW OF SACRIFICIAL LOVE IS SUPREME!
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20; Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
When I was growing up as a child, our parents subjected us to certain rules (civil and religious laws) that would be guiding our behaviours, in order for us to become reputable persons in the society. But most times, we tried to trivialize some of these laws, and sought for easier ones we liked, since the laws seemed to be strenuous. Meanwhile, in our contemporary society, many people usually seek for easy lifestyle that would always give them happiness and joy, without any hard rule or principle that may stress them.
Moreover, almost every religion has love as one of its basic guiding principles or rules. However, true religion is a religion of sacrificial love, not one of mere words. Unfortunately, some of the members of these religious groups do not really understand what love is all about. Some of them pretend to love in a view of gaining from someone, and once what they are looking for is no longer available, they abscond. While others tend to show love to their friends in a bid to get the same love in return, or to gain peoples’ attention or admiration. But once their friends begin to suffer, they would disassociate themselves with them, especially when they feel that they would not gain anything.
In the first reading, Moses told the Israelites that the commandments are not imposed from outside but spring from our hearts. The law that God has given them is accessible for them to understand and practical enough for them to put into action in their daily life. To love God with all their hearts, mind, soul and strength; and their neighbours as their selves (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).
In the Gospel, Jesus Christ explained through the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”, how we as Christian ought to demonstrate our love for one another, most especially to strangers, our enemies as well as other tribes or religions (Luke 10:25-37). The Samaritan was capable of sharing in God’s compassion and love for all people. For he took absolute care of the man who was beaten to the point of death by the robbers, despite the fact that, the victim was a stranger from the Jewish town, and his own people and the Jews were ‘archenemies’. This implies that, our neighbour is that person with whom we may not necessarily share the same faith, or the person whom we may not necessarily gain anything from.
Meanwhile, it is a human inclination in us to love our own and despise what we consider as the other. However, true love is to sacrifice one’s own comforts, energy, time, resources and talents for the sake of others; being merciful and compassionate, just like the ‘Good Samaritan’, as well as giving a listening ear to the poor, weak, depressed, etc. “For where there is no sacrifice, there is no love, and where there is no love, then there is no Christianity.”
In the second reading St. Paul explains how God demonstrated His Divine Love for humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ in spite of our sins. For Jesus Christ, is the perfect manifestation of God and the perfect manifestation of man. There is in Jesus Christ the revelation of godhead and the revelation of manhood. He is the image of God, the first-born of all creation (John 1:1-3), and His death on the Cross is the reconciling agent of all creation.
He is not merely someone who lived and died and of whom we read and learn. Rather, He is someone who, because of His death and resurrection, is alive for evermore, and whom we meet and experience, not a dead hero nor a past founder, but a living presence. Hence, Jesus Christ holds the first place in love for His brethren, because He was the first authentic “Samaritan” who has rescued us from the hands of the evil one (Colossians 1:13-14), and healed our spiritual wounds, which was caused as a result of our sins. He did this by His precious blood, and also by extension, continues to heal us through the sacrament of reconciliation.
Finally, the road that leads to eternal life is not so far from us as to need someone to bring it near. It is evident in Jesus and expressed in His teaching or law: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27). But, a clearer picture of what Jesus Christ meant here, is seen in His New commandment (Law of Sacrificial Love): “Love your neighbour as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Moreover, our neighbour is that person with whom we may not necessarily share the same religion, country, tribe, ideology, or opinions. Therefore, in order to gain eternal life, we must break those boundaries and reach out to the other, especially the needy, by showing him or her compassion and unconditional or sacrificial love which is supreme. Not in a bid to get the same love in return, or to gain peoples’ attention or admiration.
May the Holy Spirit of God grant you and your family the grace to demonstrate your unconditional love to your neighbours, and at the end of your earthly life, may you be welcomed into God’s Heavenly Kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.
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