The command to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” is perhaps one of the most challenging lines in the Bible. Yet when we strive to carry this out we begin to conform our lives to Jesus, allowing his grace in us to make it possible.
Like Jeremiah and Jesus, we experience times in life that are filled with tension and difficulty. Yet following the example of St. Paul, we face these challenging moments with God’s grace as we embrace and live the love of Christ each and every day.
We see some common themes in the readings this week:
1st Reading – Love the Lord your God…heart, soul and strength
Psalm – “I love you, Lord, my strength.”
2nd Reading – Jesus is forever our high priest
Gospel – The Greatest Commandments…Love God and neighbor
At first glance we might easily take these ideas for granted; most of us have grown up with our Christian faith and have heard these messages from childhood. But what happens when we pause and reflect?
God loves us, even when we make mistakes.
God loves us, and invites us back into right relationship.
God loves us, and keeps offering opportunities to grow in love.
God loves us, and was born, lived, suffered, died and rose for us!
Loving God is not some melancholy obligation! The Lord made us for love and through the gift of faith we are invited to grow in love with God and one another. Simply put, each and every day we have the opportunity to become more and more like Christ – our teacher and example of love.
How can you foster God’s love in your life today? How can you find ways to express and implement love in your relationships? Our commandment to love finds its source, strength and glory in the love that God has for us. May we receive the Lord’s love for us today as we share that love in all aspects of our lives.
The kids at Cathedral School are reminded by the Lord’s command to love one another, even when it is hard. That begs a question: who in your life is a challenge to love today? Ask God for the grace to love them as the Lord loves us.
On this feast of St. Augustine (the patron of my Diocese) we pause to reflect on God’s love for us. God is love, and this love is meant to find a home in our hearts and then flow out into the lives of those we meet.
Jesus offers a word of praise to his Heavenly Father for the goodness he has poured out on creation. This grace is not because of our own perfection; rather, the Lord meets us in our weakness and blesses us with his merciful love. It begs a simple question: Are we open to receive it?