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Sunday – 30

If we begin to talk about love, many thoughts enter our minds. We think of youngsters who begin to notice and impress each other, couples hand in hand in sweet demeanor, romantic partners committed to each other or even just for fun.

In the world today, there is a prevalent attitude that love can be applied to the most flippant issue as well as to the most serious action of men and women. Thank God, many still try to explore the real meaning of love.

The gospel contains one of the most familiar biblical verses: love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind and soul. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is not a mere motto for it also outlines the concrete expression that must accompany any claim of love.

First, we love God. And this means that God is our priority and center of attention, the center of our hearts, the horizon of our entire lives. But the Lord insists, if this were true, then we must love God with our “whole” being, not partial remembrance or lip service, not passing though or occasional homage.

As Catholic Christians, do we love God when we perform our religious duties grudgingly and resentful? Do we love him when his Eucharist is a mere activity inserted into our Sunday schedule such that we do not come on time, not listen attentively, not take advantage of the way to receive his grace? Do we love him when we refuse to follow his commands to straighten our lives and our relationships with one another and with creation? Do we love God when we withhold our generosity to projects that involve proclaiming his Kingdom?

Second, we love our neighbor. The measure is our love of self. It is alright to love God but since God cannot be seen directly, we must pass through his image and likeness that is present in every person.

But how can you claim you love your neighbor when you live in hate? When you ignore the poor and needy? When you deliberately deceive and wound people? When we live in our own tiny universe where “I” reign and dominate?

It’s a great thing to come to Mass each Sunday because here is an illustration of how we can make both loves meet. The Eucharist calls our attention to God who stands before us as Lord and Victor of our lives. But we realize that we also surround this God as a community of brothers and sisters who proclaim our love for each other. That is why there is no private, individual Mass. We are in here together as brothers and sisters. Let us find God. Let us find the way to God through the person right next to us.