YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: RESPOND TO LOVE WITH LOVE
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
To love and be loved is the central spice of life. Firstly, is our certainty of the eternal love of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for us in Christ. It is this love that sustains all of us. Secondly is our necessary response to the love of God by loving Him above all things and by concretely living out our love for God in practically loving our neighbours. This is what makes us through sons and daughters of God and heirs of the promise (Gal 3:29). May God help us to fill every atmosphere with the splendore of love; Amen.
The First Reading of today (Deut 6:2-6) recaptures part of the last moments in the ministry of Moses among the Israelites as they were approaching the Promised Land. It was paramount at this moment in their history to refresh their memories and minds of the commandments of God and this Moses did; affirming the central theme in the Jewish faith which is the faith in One God and that our utmost comportment towards God is love, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.” This Jesus affirms and teaches us in the Gospel Reading of today (Mark 12:28-34) to be the greatest of all the commandments and of course the summary of all the laws and prophets, together with its corollary “you must love your neighbour as yourself.” God created us out of love, He sustains us in love and He redeems us out of love and out of the same love He bestows on us the gift of participating eternally in His love at the end of time. Our only response to the love of God is love and the only way to respond to love is to love; to love God above all things with our whole heart and mind and body and to concretely live this love out in our love of our neighbours. Love is not just an idea or an abstract principle to be wished and speculated upon. Love is a reality to be lived daily. In fact, “love of neighbour, grounded in the love of God, is first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level: from the local community to the particular Church and to the Church universal in its entirety” (Deus Caritas est, n. 20). When we love, vertically and horizontally, we obey the whole of the law.
Since obedience to the law of God is the secret to success and prosperity, “Listen then Israel, keep and observe what will make you prosper and give you great increase” (Deut. 6:2-6), then love is the sublime secret to success and prosperity. The greatest of loses and destructions and atrocities in our families and countries and in the world today could be traced to a fundamental absence of love. On the other hand, progress and success flourishes where love exists, for “where charity is, where it is genuine, where love is selfless, God is there”, and God is the Lord of success and progress. The greatest of successes and progresses is to see God and those who will see God are those who are saturated with love, hence those who are filled with God. The question is; how can I love God and my neighbour? The list to practically and successfully achieve this remains endless and this is seen in the array of the saints. Every saint’s history is a story of love, received and given. The saints achieved this one goal diversely! In the saints we see how we can love and the different ways to love. The simple summary is this; we can love God and our neighbour by concretely putting into practice and living daily the principles of the Gospel. Here we must think eminently of working for peace as a practical way to live love, in our families, in our communities (natural and spiritual/religious), in our countries and in the world for there is so much violence and unrest in the world in a time when people lay huge claims to love. It is either our claims of love are empty or we have not truly understood what love is all about. Peace is one of the fruits of love. Where there is love, there is peace and “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God” (Mt 5:9).
May the love of God reign in our minds and hearts and souls and through us disseminate to every corner of the earth, bringing forth fruits, especially the fruit of peace; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE
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