Thur, 6/4/20: "Love your neighbor"
Today's readings can be found: [HERE]
There's an integrity to our system of belief that can be described as a "coherence of faith." The vast intricacies of what we know and believe about God, creation, and eternity all weave together in a seamless whole. To the untrained heart and due to our natural mortal limitations, the faith can seem contradictory at times, but from God's perspective, all things work together in Christ.
In the past few weeks, we spoke about the divinity to which God calls humanity. For those who attended Mass here this past Pentecost, you may recall our discussion of God's gift of the Holy Spirit to the body of disciples giving birth to the Church, and the implications surrounding that.
In our gospel passage today, we see another thread that has its best context in this theme of the divinization of man. Jesus speaks of the greatest commandments of the Old Covenant: to love God above all things and with all one's strength; and to love one's neighbor as himself (or herself). But these commandments reach new perfection in the New Covenant established by the blood of Christ.
In the New Covenant, the first and greatest commandment now has a face. One sees in the face of Christ, the very God who ought to be loved above all, with all of one's strength. And the second commandment is no longer good enough. It is not enough to love one's neighbor as oneself. Now, one must love his neighbor more than himself. "Love one another as I have loved you," says the Lord. As much as the Father has loved the Son (as much as God has loved himself), the Son has loved each one of us, and has called us to that same perfection.
Now, the humble heart recognizes the impossibility of this commandment from a worldly perspective. No mortal creature has the power to love with God's infinity. But if God is the one who is the agent of love within each of us--if we are conduits of God's eternal love--then it is possible to obey this commandment. When God's plan of the divinization of man is fulfilled, man is able to love as Christ loves; and is perfect, just as he and the heavenly Father are perfect. This is what the disciple strives for. This is what a saint is.
Through the grace of the sacraments, we receive divinity, and become vehicles of God's eternal love. May God bless you.
Eugéne Delacroix, The Good Samaritan (1849)