5th Sunday after Pentecost 5.7.20
Our Lord did not come to end the Law but to fulfil it. This explains the passage in today’s Gospel where He makes the command to love even more demanding.
We not only avoid killing our brother but we do not even insult him.
He is raising us to a more perfect understanding of what God intends, and therefore a greater responsibility to uphold that law.
The law to love one’s neighbour is from truly sacred origins, and follows from our sharing in the nature of God.
We are to love one another because God loves all others, and how can we differ from Him?
Think of a human body where the various parts are at war with each other. So with the Body of Christ – it is torn by lack of charity and we all suffer accordingly.
We can see that our lack of love stems from our own limitations which are largely caused by sin.
Sin darkens our minds and hearts and we find fault with each other, when we should all be directing our attention to God instead, and finding healing and new vision there.
Love should not be an uphill climb; it should flow spontaneously as it does for a baby who loves his mother.
It is essentially simple: God loves us first; we are formed by that love and reflect it back to Him, and also to others around us.
The reflection is a lot dimmer than the original, but we can at least improve with experience.
We refresh our supply of charity at the Source, which is God Himself. We draw grace from Him and this transforms us. We then have greater tolerance for others, and can excuse their faults, wishing that they come to their own experience of God's mercy.
Each offering of the Mass is calling down the purity of divine love on all who participate.
We are imperfect in our offering, but become less so as we are absorbed in it.
What happens on the altar is happening to us as well. We make an offering of ourselves to the Father, an offering of contrition, of praise, and thanksgiving.
We pray that the Father accept this atoning sacrifice and restore us to His favour, all the while increasing our capacity to love.
This is the meaning of being reconciled with our brother before offering sacrifice (Gospel).
It is not possible to make peace with everyone before every Mass, but we can at least have this basic goodwill towards all others. The Precious Blood sweeps away the barriers between us.
We have true goodwill to others because we are lifted far beyond the usual petty grievances and worldly ways of looking at things.
We could say that in the absence of being reconciled before the Mass we are reconciled during the Mass.
Every Mass is partly an expression of unity and partly a prayer that the missing unity can be found.
It will be found in charity. Even doctrinal differences will be resolved as we all come into the blinding light of Christ. We can hardly disagree with each other when standing with Him.
Instructions to charity are often dismissed as being merely wishful thinking; it could never happen in reality – it is thought.
Indeed it can happen if we lift our thoughts heavenwards.
Loving others does not mean we approve of them; only that we want for them what we would want for ourselves – to be granted God’s mercy and to be transformed in the process.
Near or far we want all to know the depths of Christ (Ep 3,18).