Today’s Thoughts: “Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.” (Thomas Merton)
Perhaps this is what Jesus is getting at as he answers the scholar of the law in today’s Gospel (Matt. 22: 34-40). Love sits at the heart of any relationship, of any friendship. The first mark of a good relationship, a good friendship, is benevolence. Benevolence is actively, seeking and finding the good in another.
In the first reading from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 22:20-26) God reminds the Israelites that they are to care people not like themselves. They are to care for immigrants, aliens. They are to care for windows and orphans, those less fortunate than themselves. Because – we have all been immigrants and aliens at one point in our family history; we all have the potential of struggling and needing assistance. Care, concern, mercy and compassion are the hallmarks of a friend of God.
We find ourselves in the midst of a great debate these days about immigrants and those who are poor. Pope Francis constantly challenges us to care for these people with compassion, understanding and love. In our first reading today, God challenges not just the Israelites but us to care for the aliens, the immigrants, the poor!
In the Gospel Jesus reminds us that we are to love God and love others and also love ourselves. In order to do this, we must find the good in God, others and ourselves. We must desire good for God, others and ourselves. As Merton says if we can do this the gift of love will be our reward!
We see the effects of a lack of love every day in our culture, our society and even our church. Lack of love starts with the inability to find God’s love within ourselves and this inability produces violence, suffering, injustice, selfishness, self-centeredness and judgmentalness. The lack of love creates divisions, alienates and isolates people.
The power of God’s word challenges us to be loving people today not just to those we like or those we find easy to love but we are asked to extend the embrace of love to all, including ourselves. If we can find the love that God has created within us, then it is much easier to look beyond ourselves to love God and others!
Have a great Sunday everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...