Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sunday October 26 WE MUST LOVE OURSELVES FIRST (A biblical reflection on the 30th ORDINARY SUNDAY, 26 October 2014)

(A biblical reflection on the 30th ORDINARY SUNDAY, 26 October 2014)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:34-40
First Reading: Exodus 22:21-27; Psalms: Psalm 18:2-4,47,51; Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, to test Him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40 RSV)

Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Too many people cannot even start on that programme because basically they do not love themselves. You cannot love another if you do not first love yourself: you will project all your own self-hatred and guilt on to the other. There are three reasons why I should love myself ...... the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
God the Father has loved me into being. I was first thought in the beautiful mind of God before ever I was spoken into life. God, who loved me before I arrived, still loves me and always will. This loving God has gifted me with my unique composition of talents, and God wants to see me grow and develop these talents so that His glory may be reflected in my life. The catechism defined the purpose of life as “to know, love and serve God here in this life: and to see and enjoy Him in the next.” Perhaps it would have been better if it read: “to know that I am loved by God.”
The second reason why I should love myself is that God the Son loves me. “I came down from heaven to save You,” He says. “I have lived for you, suffered and died for you. I rose again for you. I substituted myself for you and bore the spits and blows, mocking and rejection for you. Look at my cross and know how much I love you.”
The third reason is the Holy Spirit. In the gift of God’s Spirit the spark of God’s love has been lit in my heart. If I let the wind of the Spirit fan this spark it will become a passionate fire of love which will burn away all vestiges of hatred and negativity.
If I love myself for these three divine reasons, it will follow that I will love others for the same reasons. (1) I will share in the love of the Father for all His children. (2) I will share in the love of Jesus Christ who deliberately sought out those whom others despised and whose self-esteem was low. His pity was immense, His compassion was wide and His understanding was divine. When I know how much I am loved by Jesus I will want others to know that love in their lives too. (3) The Spirit’s love in me will want to tear down any barriers or blockages which are preventing growth. Whenever my sinful eyes focus on how unloveable the other person is, then I must beg the Holy Spirit to overcome my sin and to grant me divine eyes to see with understanding.
Love of God and love of others cannot be separated. They spring from the one source ...... God’s love for us, known and appreciated. “Let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” (1 John 3:7)
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, and breathe on me! Empower me to live the law of love! Apart from You, I am powerless, but with You, I can fulfil the command to love. Make me realize that I cannot love others if I do not love myself first. Open my heart to the passionate love of the Father and help me to come to Him everyday as His child and good disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Note: Adapted from Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFMCap., THE GOOD NEWS OF MATTHEW’S YEAR, Dublin, Ireland: Cathedral Books/The Columba Press, 1989/1992 (reprinting), pages 254-255.
Jakarta, 24 October 2014
A Christian Pilgrim

achristianpilgrim | October 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Tags: GOD THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST,

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