"Love God and everyone that God loves!"
"My love is fixed on God." This is a statement I often hear from Christians. A number of times in the past, I find it difficult to understand such claim as the way people react and relate with one another are quite different from what is being professed. If God were truly fixed in their hearts, things would have been different. What I see in my midst are quite far from the model Jesus gave all of us.
Jesus did not only keep His love for God's family in the secrecy of His heart but openly gave it to everyone. He was able to make everyone feel loved and accepted despite everyone's sinfulness and brokenness. One cannot trace any rigidity in His actions and motivations but only mercy and compassion. He served and taught the people at all cost and even decided to accept death on the Cross to save humanity.
When a brother is in need of help, hungry and with nothing to sustain himself, what do we do to alleviate the person's suffering? Do we just share God's Word with Him, console him and ask him to rejoice for we have a God Who provides and Who will never forsake him? Or do we go out of our way to stretch our hand, make him feel loved, feed him and try to find a way to resolve what has burdened him? Have we followed God's Word in meeting the need of a brother in need? Or have we been quite limited to pure talk and no action? Saying to a brother in need, "go in peace" is not good enough when we say that our love is fixed on God. Having this thought in our minds and hearts is not enough.
Indifference towards the plight of another and complacency from doing good and loving a neighbor are even worst than hating a brother. Indifference kills. Thus a believer who is not moved to love his brother and do good and godly acts cannot say that his love is fixed on God as God is love. Scripture is right in referring to him as a liar. He has not loved God if he has not loved his brother. If he has not loved God and his brother then the only one he could have loved was himself and no one else. Beware as too much love of self will in time empty our hearts of love of God.
In Luke 16:19-31, the rich man upon his death was condemned to suffer and was in torment because of his utter disregard for the poor, not because of his wealth. The kind of heart and disposition that he carried with him showed that he never believed in God and His ways. Since God was not in his heart, there was no way love could reside within him. If he had faith in our Lord, he would have some built-in mercy and compassion for the poor that begged for his leftovers. If He had love of God deep within him, he would not have lived in great luxury, comfort and ease while a poor beggar in Lazarus kept watch outside his house hoping that he will be blessed with some crumbs to fill his empty stomach.
The rich man was condemned for he has become so complacent with all his riches and such is a man who has become so self-centered and does not care for his neighbor. Such is the man who did not pass the test of faithfulness in stewardship, whose wealth was not able to bring him endless joy but total destruction. This is the tragic ending of anyone who believes on the great promise of wealth, power and influence which the world offers rather than the promise of eternal life and salvation in God's Word.
Let us always remember the commandment we have from Him: ”Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
In today's gospel Jesus said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." We too have been anointed to do the same. Have we properly responded to such anointing?
Find a way not only to share God's Word with everyone but to share His love as well. One way we can do this is by helping the earthquake and tsunami victims of South Asia.
Oh God of Wonder, even though I often feel like I am stumbling in the dark, I know you are there to guide me with the perfect light of your love.
I know you can heal me and I believe that you want to do just that.
I beg you now to look at me with your loving eyes and 'make me clean.'
Let my life reflect the balance of my faith in you and a love of those in my life. Help me to love more freely. Help me to love as you do. Heavenly Father, give me the grace to be compassionate and loving to those who come to me in need. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
"Love God and everyone that God loves!"