November 4, 2012 — Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
God created us in love. He created us out of love, for scripture tells us God Himself is love and so as He poured forth Himself into the creation of the world, particularly the creation of human beings (the pinnacle of creation) He must have done so in love. And He made us creatures oriented toward love, made to love God and one another. In fact, in today’s scripture readings He tells us that love is the most important action in the life of a Christian disciple. Indeed, we were made to love.
This truth is affirmed in both the Old Testament reading and the gospel for today.
“You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Then, in the gospel reading Jesus adds, “You should love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
Love of God comes first. It is THE most important aspect of Christian life, for God has loved us and continues to love us infinitely, and He has given us so much in love — our life, the gift of our Faith, the chance of salvation, etc. Our lives must be lived in response to His love, and so we must love Him in return.
Love of neighbor comes in a close second in terms of priority. In fact, the two really go hand in hand. If we love God then that love flows over into love of one another, because in loving God we must love those whom He has created, recognizing their value as His beloved creatures.
How do we do so?
Oftentimes, so much talk of love begins to sound theoretical or mushy — like an idealized concept where we all feel “lovey dovey” towards one another. But it’s not. The love we are called to put into practice is a real love. It is a love that calls us to action. It is a self-giving, sacrificing, deep, agape type love.
Take a look at Jesus on the cross. He tells us to love and then He shows us how. We are to love God and one another by actively giving of ourselves for the sake of one another. So, we offer our time, our talents, and our treasure as a way to first of all show God that we recognize and greatly appreciate that He has given Himself so completely for us, to show Him our unconditional love and gratitude, and secondly to reach out to our fellow human beings, recognizing that our love for God necessitates that we love our neighbors also.
The life of a Christian is a life rooted in and geared toward love. It is stewardship in action.