JudeSundayReflections-noreply at yahoogroups.com (Jude Botelho [JudeSundayReflections])
2014-10-20 03:31:08 UTC
If you were to do a web search on the word ?Love? you might find at least 54,700,000 sites or more! One would think that everybody knows about love and is talking about love. Love is the subject of umpteen films and the Beatles popularized the song ?All you need is love.? What is the love we are talking about? Is it that nice warm sentimental feeling, or is it more than that? Is there one love that is the greatest of all? May God?s Word open our minds and hearts to love! Have a caring weekend! Fr. Jude
Sunday Ref: 30th Sun ?Only one commandment: Love for God and neighbour!? 26-Oct-2014
Readings: Exodus 22: 21-27; 1 Thes.1: 5-10; Mt. 22: 34-40;
The first reading from the book of Exodus reminded the people of their obligations towards others, especially the widow, the stranger and the orphan. The time of the exile was definitely a very painful and dark part of the history of the people of Israel, during which they experienced what it meant to be weak and dependant on others. Times were better now but they were asked not to forget what they themselves had undergone and be sensitive to the needs of the foreigners among them, the homeless, the helpless and the dependant. Having felt the pain of injustice and oppression themselves, they must never inflict pain on others. The health of a community can be measured by the way it treats such people.
?I have broken the commandment of men??
In the time of the desert monks, there was an abbot by the name of Moses who had a great reputation for holiness. Easter was approaching, so the monks met and decided to fast the entire length of Holy Week. Having come to this decision, each monk went off to his cell, to fast and pray. However, about the middle of the week, two wandering monks came to visit the cell of Abbot Moses. Seeing that they were starving, he cooked a little vegetable stew for them. To make them feel at ease he took a little of it himself. Meanwhile the other monks had seen the smoke rising from the abbot?s cell. It could mean only one thing ?he had lit a fire to cook some food. In other words, he had broken the solemn fast. They were shocked. And in the eyes of many of them, he fell from his pinnacle of sanctity. In a body they went over to confront him. Seeing judgement in their eyes, he asked, ?What crime have I committed that makes you look at me like this??
?You?ve broken the solemn fast,? they answered. ?So I have,? he replied. ?I have broken the commandment of men, but in sharing my food with these brothers of ours, I have kept the commandment of God, that we should love one another.? On hearing this, the monks grew silent, and went away humbled and wiser.
Flor McCarthy in ?New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies?
In the Gospel Jesus is asked the question: ?Master, which is the greatest commandment of the law?? Jesus? answer is plain and simple. ?You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.? He adds: ?The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.? What is absolutely certain is that God has to be the top priority of our life. Our lives make sense only when He has the first place. Yet it is a fact that so often God has second place. When we make important decisions about our life do we take into account what God would say about it? The way we structure our time, our energy, our efforts, our lifestyle, all these are realistic indicators pointing to what has priority in our life. The special focus of the Gospel is the fact that Jesus reminds us that the second law is just as important as the first: ?You should love your neighbour as
yourself.? If I do not love the neighbour whom I can see how can I say I love God? Love is seen in our attitude and actions towards our neighbour. The challenge is to love others just as much as we love ourselves. We all know how we take care of our own needs and wants. When there are decisions to be made is our main consideration: ?What?s in it for me?? or ?How will my decision/action or inaction affect others?? The yardstick of our action should always be: ?In every situation is this action of mine the most loving thing??
Greater love than this...
There was an article written in Time magazine years ago, when an airplane suddenly crashed into the sea. The writer claimed that it was one of America?s worst tragedies because of the large number of lives that were lost. It was also America?s hour of heroism. Immediately on hearing of the crash, several rescue operations were set into motion and the rescue workers, saved many survivors. There were several heroes who distinguished themselves that day by their life-saving action. The first heroes were the rescue workers, and when they were later interviewed on TV, they were asked one question: ?Why did you risk your life?? They said that it was their job, and they were expected to do. These rescue workers perhaps symbolize people who will do things if it is their job. ?If it is not my job then I will not lift a finger to help?. The second hero was one of the passengers, who was rescued and was being taken to the lifeboats. He noticed a lady
drowning, dived into the waters, and pulled her to the safety of the lifeboat. When asked later why he had risked his life he replied: ?She called out to me and asked for help so I had to help.? The hero could perhaps represent people who will do things if they are asked. ?If you want my help, ask for it!? The third hero was also one of the passengers of the ill-fated plane. After the tragedy struck, he found himself floating among the debris. Fortunately, one of the rescue helicopters noticed him and lowered a halter, which he grabbed and held on to. He could easily have saved himself but he saw a young lady drowning and he quickly put the halter around her and the helicopter was able to rescue her. Soon the helicopter came again and once again the man grabbed the lifeline. Instead of helping himself, he looked around and noticed another old lady struggling and got the halter around her and she was rescued. Six times the man had a chance to
save himself but six times he gave the lifeline to another, whom he felt had a greater need. The seventh time when the helicopter came to the spot where the man had been floating, he was gone! History will never know who exactly this heroic passenger was, but he symbolized what Christ meant when he said: ?Greater love than this no man has, than that he lays down his life for a friend!?
Film: Father Damien: The Leper Priest
Father Damien: The Leper Priest is a movie made for television. The program dramatizes the story of Fr. Damien who came from Belgian to the Hawaiian island of Molokai in 1873 to serve the lepers there until he too contracted leprosy and died in 1889. At that time in history, the colony of Molokai was a dumping ground for lepers and it was like a death sentence to be put there. There was little law and order, medical help and supplies were non-existent, and housing and sanitation were so bad that the island seemed like a sewer. At first Fr. Damien found the lepers repulsive. But as he suffered with them, struggled with them and served them, he overcame his revulsion towards the lepers and developed deep feelings of love for them. Fr. Damien dedicated almost two decades of his life to the lepers because he believed that in doing so he was demonstrating both his love for God and for his neighbour.
Albert Cylwicki in ?His Word Resounds?
A man attending a crowded church service refused to take his hat off when asked to do so by the ushers. The preacher was perturbed too, and after the service told the man that the church was quite happy to have him as guest, and invited him to join the church, but he explained the traditional decorum regarding men?s hats and said, ?I hope you will confirm to that practice in the future.? ?Thank you,? said the man. ?And thank you for taking time to talk to me. It was good of you to ask me to join the congregation. In fact, I joined it three years ago and have been coming regularly ever since, but today is the first day anyone ever paid attention to me. After being an unknown for three years, today, by simply keeping on my hat, I had the pleasure of talking to the ushers. And now I have a conversation with you, who have always appeared too busy to talk to me before!? ?What do we do to make strangers welcome? Are we too busy?
Are you related to Him?
Just before Christmas, there was a boy wandering through a shopping complex. He was admiring the colourful display of Christmas gifts. A lady closely watched him moving from one shop to another. Realizing the poverty of the boy, she took him inside the shop and showed him the Christmas tree and explained to him the meaning of Christmas. ?God loves us? she said, and so to save us from our sins, he was born in a manger as a little babe.? Then she bought him a pair of new clothes and shoes, along with some Christmas gifts and a candy and some refreshments. The little boy was thrilled. As she led him out of the shop, he looked at her and asked, ?Are you God?? ?No? she replied, ?I am only one of his children.? ?Ah!? said the boy, ?I knew that you were somehow related to him.?
John Rose in ?John?s Sunday Homilies?
Love is Sacrifice
God-Jesus is love. Jesus? bent body to wash feet and bloody body, crucified, are supreme symbols of love. Champaben, a poor tribal widow of Kanaghat village, south Gujarat, taught me quite literally what ?mad love? is all about. Her teenage son Manoj, is severely mentally handicapped. To allow her to care for her two small daughters, we had Manoj into an institution for mentally challenged. A day later Champaben returned, weeping, ?Father, I?m sorry! I can?t live without my Manoj. Please bring him back!? And to this day, despite Manoj?s violent behaviour and screams, Champaben lovingly cares for him. Love is service and sacrifice.
Francis Gonsalves in ?Sunday Seeds for Gospel Deeds?
Topping the List
There is an immortal song written by an English poet, Leigh Hunt about a man named Abou Ben Adhem. Abou Ben Adhem woke from his sleep one night and saw in his room an angel writing in a book of gold the names of those who love God. ?Is my name one of those in your book?? inquired Abou. ?No, Not so,? replied the angel. ?I pray you, then,? said Abou, ?Write me as one who loves God?s fellowmen.? The following day the angel came again and displayed the names of those who love God, and Abou Ben Adhem?s name topped the list. This story makes the point that true love of God and true love of our fellowmen are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist apart from the other. That is what we find in today?s gospel.
John Pichappilly in ?The Table of the Word?
In all things may love be the guiding light of our lives!
Fr. Jude Botelho
BotelhoJude at gmail.com
PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in these reflections. These reflections are also available on my website www.NetForLife.net Thank you.