Today’s Gospel: Luke 6, 6-11
Once in confession, after I had finished listing my sins, the priest asked me why I was sorry for them. I automatically answered, “Because they’re wrong.” Father’s reply to this threw me. He said, “And because you love Jesus?” At the time, I considered it obvious, but as I’ve reflected on it over the years, those five words have become a challenge. I’ve always had a tendency to see things in black and white. You do this because it’s right. You don’t do that because it’s wrong. It’s so easy to get consumed by the dos and don’ts, and completely forget about the reason behind them. Love.
This seems to be the scribes’ and the Pharisees’ biggest failing. They lack love. Here is a man who has no use of one of his hands. What’s more, it’s his right hand, which was considered superior over the left. How difficult his life must have been. But they don’t see him. They see a means to an end, a way to solve a problem. Jesus tries to point out their hardness of heart, how they’re using the law to do evil rather than to show love. Sadly, they just don’t see it. Too consumed by their hatred of Jesus and his apparent flaunting of their dos and don’ts, they know only anger.
It’s beautiful that today’s reading falls on the feast day for Mother Teresa. If anyone can stand as a shining example of love, she can. She loved and guided, prayed for and assisted, men, women, and children in need like the man in the reading today. Many were worse off. She didn’t demand they follow the Church in exchange for her assistance. Yes, she kept the commandments, but above all, she loved.
When have I failed to love while trying to live as Jesus taught us?
Lord, teach us to love as you do and to never forget to see that love as the reason for everything we do. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.
Copyright 2016 Emily Semenoff
Catholic. Librarian. Nerd. I have a dog who is afraid of boxes, a car held together by duct tape, almost perpetual writer’s block, and an abiding love of story. When not searching for “epiphanies of beauty,” as St. John Paul II put it, I blog at Unique Disclosures.