[__7:30 am Mass_] 4 November 2018 / 31st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B
•• Deuteronomy 6:2-6 • Psalm 18 •• Hebrews 7:23-28 •• + Mark 12:28b-34 ••
•• Title: Love.
[__01_] This is the Gospel passage, a discussion of LOVE, the commandments of LOVE, and CHARITY.
How much do you love yourself?
Several months ago, I found myself in the doctor’s office because I was not feeling well, and I feared I had some flu virus or something. Because it was JUNE – shortly after Memorial Day – I was told that – hey, anything is possible because there’s like 1,000+ different strains of the flu virus, but it was not really flu season – but mostly you just have a cold and you need to rest.
Then this nice internal medicine doctor started to ask me questions about my diet, rest, sleep, exercise, etc.
I.e., are you taking care of yourself? Taking care of yourself?
[__02_] In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus speaks about 3 dimensions, 3 demonstrations of love …
· Love of God
· Love of neighbor
· Love of self.
The last of which is “love of self”…it’s almost as though Jesus is mentioning it in passing… Is it important?
Does Jesus have time for “love of self”? Do you have time for “love of self”?
There seems to be something here..
If love of self is an important metric, an important measurement, an important vital sign, then how do we practice, increase this … “love of self”?
[__03_] For example, by taking time off, by taking a vacation. This is how I love myself. EXPEDIA.COM
For example, by eating properly, I love myself. Become an AMAZON Prime member and you can obtain discounts at Whole Foods. Love yourself.
These are some of the ways that we love – or treat ourselves – with care.
There is another way, however, to look at this love of self which I’d like to consider apply to love of God and love of neighbor.
[__04_] That is, how do I love – care for - some precious object or possession if I know this object was a gift from someone else?
I will use a real OBJECT as an example. Several years ago, I needed car. My car had broken down and could not be repaired.
My father was kind enough to pass down his car to me. Previously, he had passed it down to my brother and now I was the 4th owner of this vehicle. My father bought it used, he was the 2nd owner, my brother the 3rd and I was number 4.
Even though this was officially registered and now my car, I was constantly on the watch for how my father regarded the care of “my car.”
I put new tires on the car. He wanted to know how much they cost, though I had paid for them.
I put a CD player in the car which it never had and my sister specifically thought this was an excellent idea… my father was OK with this. I think.
Now about a year later, I realized that this car was really terrible in the snow, and I finally had to sell it so that I could drive in bad weather. When it came time to sell the car, I put the advertisement on Craigslist and in the Star-Ledger. I took the money and used it for the purchase of another car.
But, my father was not directly involved in this selling transaction but … to him I did report how much I had sold the car for.
[__05_] Now, the car is just a car.
It’s just an object. It’s not your whole life.
But, the car was a gift to be cared for.
The way I cared for it said something about how I regarded my father.
The way we care for our gifts, our talents, our time, says something about our love of God and our love of neighbor.
If I care for my gifts, my talents, my time, it’s not just about me, really.
It’s about how I can be a gift to others. (quote John Paul II ??)
It’s about not only how I love myself but also how I love God and neighbor.
[__06_] Putting on our nametags, today, is a way for us to announce who we are to each other and loving ourselves, recognizing that each of us has a distinct identity.
This is the gift of ourselves to others.
Everything is about the gift of ourselves to others.
[__07_] We have an election coming up. Voting in the election is about love of neighbor, love of self and love of God.
The issues in the election, such as the sanctity of life.
How do we regard law that should govern the sanctity of life or the care of children the care of a child who has not yet been born, the care of life of a person who may be dying?
Who may be vulnerable.
Do we love this child, this person as a gift received and one whose identity and destiny is ultimately in God’s control, just as our identity and destiny is in God’s control?
Do we regard this life as a gift to be cared for?
A gift we do not own.
This care says something not only about ourselves personally but our regard and love of neighbor and love of God.
And, that love is meant to bring us together, these decisions about the sanctity of life – at all stages – are meant to unite us rather than to divide us.
Just as the care of anyone’s life – who is vulnerable – brings the family together.
[__08_] When we vote in an election, we are voting for people to have authority over us.
But, this “authority” does not mean the person is better than we are …or that the person is the perfect candidate. There is no perfect candidate.
Or, being in an authority position, leadership or authoritative position does not make us better than someone else.
In other words, to believe in authority and to trust authority means that we also believe in equality. Legal authority and legal equality co-exist. In fact, they depend on each other.
All of us are made in the image and likeness of God.
“Winning” an elected office does not make the person who is governing better than the people governed.
Leaders will still have flaws.
“Winning” an election means that some responsibility has been entrusted to them.
And, we are called to hold them accountable.
They are held accountable – in authority – because there is equality.
We are blessed to live in the United States where there is both authority and equality.
And, we preserve this authority and equality by voting in elections.
I encourage you to vote in this election.
I read this prayer share this prayer from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ..
Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront us in West Orange, in New Jersey, in the United States… and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community. We ask for eyes that are free from blindness so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty. We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender. We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.