31ST OCTOBER 2021
VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL DIMENSION OF LOVE
What is Love? The word love is a very important and a powerful word in the world and society of today. Everybody understands when we talk about love. Unfortunately, for many of us, the word love has lost its true meaning and purpose today. It has been reduced to a sentimental feeling, romantic love, being nice to the other person, sex without commitment, and so on. Love is the most important virtue in our Christian life. Love is self-giving and self-sacrificing for others, just like Jesus Christ who died on the cross for his love for the father and for us.
Most of the time we mistakenly think that Christianity is only about loving and serving God and we undermine our relationship with our brother and sisters, peoples around us. It is not enough to go to church every Sunday, not missing Mass and praising God without expressing it, living it out in our daily lives through our relationship with our neighbors, Love of God and love of neighbors. The scripture of today tells us that the two never be contradictory, they have to go hands in hands, and they are complementary. Loving God is expressed through loving our neighbors and Love for neighbor is the result of Love of God.
This is what the readings of today is all about? Jesus, in the Gospel, summarizes the all-Jewish commandments, the 613 laws precepts into two: Love of God and Love for others.
The first reading presents Moses explaining the Law to the Israelites after his return from Mount Sinai. He tries to make the people reverence and obey the Law of God the assurance of bring them dignity, purpose, perfection in their growth as a nation. He reminds them that keeping God’s commandments will give them God’s blessings of long life, prosperity, and fruitful, peaceful and successful lives. That shows that God must be the in the first place in everything we do. But is loving God alone enough for us to grow in our spiritual life as Christians? Where is the place for the love of our brothers and sisters in our Christian life?
The Gospel talks about the two dimensions together. They are at the same level and cannot go without the other. Loving God with all our heart, soul and mind means, we should love God with everything what we are, with the totality of our being. He wants us all, and invites us to love him because that is what we have been created for. And this leads to obedience and abiding in his commandment and laws.
Love for neighbors is the result of the love of God. We cannot love God without loving our fellow human person his child and the dwelling place of the Spirit of God and bears his image and likeness (1Jn 4:20). We cannot love God we cannot see if we don’t love our fellow human being His creatures we can see and relate.
Love of God is the vital and root for loving our neighbors. Love others like myself means I love them as if they are mine, member of my family, with compassion and kindness. Love of God is expressed through loving others. Loving God without loving other people is hypocrisy and loving neighbors without loving God is empty, void and earthly love, not complete.
This is what Christianity truly is all about. It is not an easy life but it needs sacrifice and humility. It is a journey towards perfection, the vocation for all. We need God’s grace to help us to love him and to be able to extend this love of him to our neighbors in our daily lives.